According to new research presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine (AOSSM), the type of material used to create a new ligament may impact how long an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction will last. Craig R. Bottoni, MD, lead author of the study, and his research team followed 99 patients who had used either an autograft or allograft for their ACL reconstruction. All allografts were from a single tissue bank, aseptically processed and fresh frozen without terminal irradiation, as indicated on an AOSSM news release.

A total of 87 patients were male with 95 individuals in active duty military. The groups were similar in demographics and pre-operative activity level.

All participants in the study followed the same post-operative rehabilitation protocol. The primary outcome measures were graft integrity, subjective knee stability, and functional status. The results of the study showed that there were four (8.3%) autograft and 13 (26.5%) allograft failures that required revision reconstruction. In the remaining patients whose graft was intact, there was no difference in the mean SANE, Tegner, or IKDC scores.

Bottoni explains, “Our study results highlight that in a young athletic population, allografts (tissue harvested from a donor) fail more frequently than using autografts (tissue harvested from the patient). After following the patients for 10 years, more than 80 percent of all grafts were intact and had maintained stability. However, those patients who had an allograft, failed at a rate more than three times higher than those reconstructed with an autograft.”

Bottoni adds, “By better understanding why and how grafts fail in ACL reconstructions, we can increase the life span of these procedures and minimize future surgeries where feasible.”

Source: American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine