Osteoarthritis After ACL Surgery

Osteoarthritis risk not higher in patients who underwent single bundle ACL reconstruction surgery

(RxWiki News) Your anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of four ligaments in the knee. If your ACL tears, you may need surgery. Unfortunately, many patients develop osteoarthritis after surgery, regardless of the type of surgery.

Patients who have undergone single bundle ACL reconstruction surgery may have the same risk of osteoarthritis than those who have undergone double bundle ACL reconstruction.

"Ask your doctor about the risks of ACL surgery."

In ACL reconstruction, surgeons replace a torn ACL with a new tendon. In single bundle ACL reconstruction, one tendon graft is used to replace the injured tendon. In double bundle ACL reconstruction, two smaller tendon grafts are used.

Some research has shown that double bundle reconstruction leads to better knee function than single bundle surgery.

When it comes to osteoarthritis risk after surgery, Jongkeun Seon, MD., of Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital, and colleagues found that the type of ACL reconstruction may make little difference.

"While previous studies have shown the benefits of double bundle ACL reconstruction compared to single bundle, none have focused on the long-term effects of osteoarthritis," said Dr. Seon.

"A final follow-up in our study showed 9.6 percent of the double bundle group and 10 percent of the single bundle group having signs of osteoarthritis progression, which is an insignificant difference," said Dr. Seon.

In other words, a similar amount of double bundle surgery patients had osteoarthritis progression as those who underwent single bundle surgery.

Within six months of surgery, all 112 patients involved in the study regained full range of motion of the knee.

"Our study shows little connection between the onset of osteoarthritis and single or double bundle surgery," said Dr. Seon.

"Patients over the age of 40 at time of surgery did show osteoarthritis change more frequently, however. We need to continue examining these patients as they age to see if the number of cases continues to increase," Dr. Seon concluded.

The research was presented in July at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting. As such, the study has yet to be accepted by a peer-reviewed academic journal.

Review Date: 
July 14, 2012