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The long-term clinical and radiological outcomes in patients who suffer recurrent injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament after reconstruction

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The aim of this study was to investigate the long-term clinical and radiological outcome of patients who suffer recurrent injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) after reconstruction and require revision surgery.

Patients and Methods

From a consecutive series of 200 patients who underwent primary reconstruction following rupture of the ACL, we identified 36 who sustained a further rupture, 29 of whom underwent revision surgery. Patients were reviewed prospectively at one, two, seven, 15 and about 20 years after their original surgery. Primary outcome measures were the number of further ruptures, the posterior tibial slope (PTS), and functional and radiological outcomes. These were compared with a gender and age matched cohort of patients who underwent primary ACL reconstruction only.


At a mean follow-up of 18.3 years (14.3 to 20.2), 29 patients had undergone revision surgery and within this revision group 11 had sustained more than three ruptures of the ACL (3 to 6). The mean age at the time of revision reconstruction was 26.4 years (14 to 54). The mean PTS was significantly higher in those patients who suffered a further injury to the ACL (11°) compared with the control group (9°) (p < 0.001). The mean PTS in those patients who sustained more than three ruptures was 12°.


Patients who suffer recurrent injuries to the ACL after reconstruction have poorer functional and radiological outcomes than those who suffer a single injury. The causes of further injury are likely to be multifactorial but an increased PTS appears to have a significant association with recurrent ACL injuries.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2017;99-B:337–43.

Correspondence should be sent to I. Ahmed; e-mail:

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