Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction (ACLR) after ACL rupture improves the instability of the knee joint and decreases mechanical stress to the meniscus and articular cartilage. However, there are reports that post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) is observed over time following ACLR. In this study, we assessed changes in cartilage lesions by arthroscopic findings following anatomical double-bundle ACLR and at post-operative second-look arthroscopy about 14 months later. We retrospectively evaluated 37 knees in cases with patients <40 years of age who had undergone an anatomical double-bundle ACL reconstruction <1 year after ACL rupture injury from March 2012 to December 2016. Clinical results and arthroscopic cartilage/meniscal lesion were evaluated and compared between a cartilage lesion-detected group and intact-cartilage group. Surgery improved anteroposterior laxity and other clinical measures; however, cartilage lesions were detected at 11 sites during ACLR and at 54 sites at second-look arthroscopy. The periods from injury to second-look arthroscopy and from ACLR to second-look arthroscopy were significantly longer in the cartilage-lesion group (n=23) than in the intact-cartilage group (n=14). Conversely, 96% of meniscal damage observed during ACLR was cured at the time of second-look arthroscopy. Knee articular cartilage lesions after ACL rupture cannot be completely suppressed, even using the anatomical ACL reconstruction technique. This study suggested that articular cartilage lesions can progress to a level that can be confirmed arthroscopically at approximately 17 months after ACL injury. Therefore, in ACLR patients, the possibility of developing knee articular cartilage lesions and PTOA should be considered.
- anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
- cartilage lesions
- meniscal lesion
- post-traumatic osteoarthritis
- second-look arthroscopy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)