Posttraumatic cartilage degradation progresses following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: A second-look arthroscopic evaluation

Takaaki Hiranaka, Takayuki Furumatsu, Yusuke Kamatsuki, Kazuhisa Sugiu, Yoshiki Okazaki, Shin Masuda, Yuki Okazaki, Shota Takihira, Shinichi Miyazawa, Eiji Nakata, Toshifumi Ozaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Several studies have demonstrated that posttraumatic knee osteoarthritis progresses even after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Few reports described zone-specific cartilaginous damages after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. This study aimed to compare the status of articular cartilage at anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with that at second-look arthroscopy. Methods: This study included 20 patients (20 knees, 10 males and 10 females, mean age 22.4 years, Body mass index 24.4 kg/m2) that underwent arthroscopic anatomic double-bundle anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and second-look arthroscopy. Mean periods from injury to reconstruction and from reconstruction to second-look arthroscopy were 3.4 and 15.3 months, respectively. Cartilage lesions were evaluated arthroscopically in the 6 articular surfaces and 40 articular subcompartments independently, and these features were graded with the International Cartilage Repair Society articular cartilage injury classification; comparisons were made between the grades at reconstruction and at second-look arthroscopy. Furthermore, clinical outcomes were assessed at reconstruction and at second-look arthroscopy, using the Lysholm knee score, Tegner activity scale, International Knee Documentation Committee score, Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, side-to-side difference of the KT-2000 arthrometer, and pivot shift test. Results: Each compartment showed a deteriorated condition at second-look arthroscopy compared with the pre-reconstruction period. A significant worsening of the articular cartilage was noted in all compartments except the lateral tibial plateau and was also observed in the central region of the medial femoral condyle and trochlea after reconstruction. However, each clinical outcome was significantly improved postoperatively. Conclusions: Good cartilage conditions were restored in most subcompartments at second-look arthroscopy. Furthermore, posttraumatic osteoarthritic changes in the patellofemoral and medial compartments progressed even in the early postoperative period, although good knee stability and clinical outcomes were obtained. Care is necessary regarding the progression of osteoarthritis and the appearance of knee symptoms in patients undergoing anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1058-1063
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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