Multiple ACL surgery techniques effective in helping athletes return to play

March 23, 2013

Orthopaedic surgeons have debated the effectiveness of the single versus double-bundle method of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair for years. However new data shows both techniques lead to similarly effective outcomes for patients, according to a study presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Specialty Day in Chicago, IL.

"We examined 98 patients who underwent reconstructions to repair ruptured ACLs using either one of these methods after two years," commented lead researcher Mattias Ahldén, MD, of Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Mölndal, Sweden. "Using the pivot shift test to determine knee instability, 79% of the double bundle group and 67% of the single-bundle group showed normal knee function, a relatively minor difference."

The patients studied, ranging in age from 18-52, opted for ACL reconstructions after contact-sport injuries. The sample was comparable in terms of gender, time between injury and reconstruction, and length of follow-up period.

"Our study was not intended to show the overall effectiveness of ACL , but instead determine if one surgical approach is better than another in promoting a return to normal activity," noted Ahldén. "The data shows that in fact multiple surgical approaches can help patients enjoy a return to normalcy after knee injuries."

The study did not examine long-term effects of ACL injury recovery such as osteoarthritis in patients' knees as it related to single and double bundle techniques.

Explore further: Osteoarthritis risk not diminished in double bundle ACL surgeries

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