BACKGROUND: The aim of this prospective randomized study was to compare the outcomes of the anatomic double-bundle (DB) and anatomic single-bundle (SB) techniques 5 years after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Since more effective restoration of rotational laxity is considered the main advantage of the DB technique, the pivot-shift test was the primary outcome variable of the study.
HYPOTHESIS: Double-bundle ACL reconstruction will result in a better outcome in terms of the pivot-shift test.
STUDY DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 1.
METHODS: A total of 105 patients (33 women, 72 men; median age, 27 years; range, 18-52 years) were randomized and underwent ACL reconstruction (DB group, n = 53; SB group, n = 52). All reconstructions were performed anatomically by identifying the ACL footprints, using the anteromedial portal for the femoral tunnel drilling, and utilizing interference screw for tibial and femoral fixation. A single blinded observer examined the patients preoperatively and at follow-up (median, 64 months; range, 55-75 months). Multiple subjective and objective clinical evaluation tests and radiographic assessments of osteoarthritis (OA) were performed using the Ahlbäck, Kellgren-Lawrence, and Fairbank grading systems at 6 weeks postoperatively and at the final follow-up evaluation.
RESULTS: Preoperatively, no differences were found between the study groups, apart from the preinjury Tegner activity level, which was lower in the DB group (SB: mean, 7.8 [range, 3-9]; DB: mean, 7.3 [range, 0-9]; P = .02). Eighty-seven patients (83%) were available for examination at the 5-year follow-up. Statistical differences could not be found between the groups in terms of the pivot-shift test, KT-1000 arthrometer laxity measurements, manual Lachman test, single-legged-hop test, square-hop test, range of motion, Lysholm knee scoring scale, Tegner activity scale, or Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score. Correspondingly, no differences were found between the groups regarding the presence of OA at follow-up. However, a significant increase of OA was found within the DB group at the 5-year follow-up. Both groups improved at follow-up compared with the preoperative assessment in terms of the laxity tests, hop tests, and scoring scales.
CONCLUSION: At the 5-year follow-up of an unselected group of patients, anatomic DB reconstruction was not superior to anatomic SB reconstruction in terms of the pivot-shift test.