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No Difference in Outcome Between Femoral Soft-Tissue and Screw Graft Fixation for Reconstruction of the Medial Patellofemoral Ligament: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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PURPOSE: The aim of the present randomized controlled trial was to compare 2 different medial patellofemoral ligament reconstruction (MPFL-R) techniques that utilize different femoral fixation principles, which could affect subjective clinical outcomes and surgical morbidity.

METHODS: Sixty patients were randomly assigned to 2 MPFL-R techniques: bone or soft-tissue fixation of the graft at the femoral condyle. Patients had operations performed between 2010 and 2015 at a single center. Indication for surgery was 2 or more patellar dislocations. When the bone fixation technique was used, the gracilis tendon was fixed with the use of an interference screw. When the soft-tissue fixation technique was used, the gracilis tendon was looped around the adductor magnus tendon. Both techniques used patella-graft fixation with drill holes in the medial patellar edge. Clinical outcomes were evaluated by means of Kujala, knee injury and osteoarthritis outcome, and pain scores before the operation and at 1- and 2-year follow-up examinations. Surgical morbidity was evaluated by pain on palpation along the reconstruction site.

RESULTS: Kujala scores were 88 and 89 for bone and soft-tissue fixation groups, respectively, with no difference between groups (P = .73). No significant differences in knee injury osteoarthritis outcome or pain scores were found. Analysis of surgical morbidity, defined as femoral-based tenderness overlying the fixation site, demonstrated that 13% and 12% of patients had significant tenderness at the reconstruction site after bone and soft-tissue MPFL-R, respectively. No patellar re-dislocations were observed in either group.

CONCLUSIONS: MPFL-R with soft-tissue graft fixation at the femoral condyles resulted in findings for subjective clinical outcome, patellar stability, and pain level similar to those associated with MPFL-R with bone fixation. Surgical morbidity was also similar between patients who had soft-tissue and those who had bone fixation MPFL-R. Soft-tissue femoral graft fixation does not result in inferior clinical outcomes compared with screw fixation, and it can be used safely for MPFL-R.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery
Pages (from-to)1130-1137
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

    Research areas

  • Adolescent, Adult, Autografts, Bone Screws, Female, Humans, Joint Instability/surgery, Ligaments, Articular/surgery, Male, Middle Aged, Patellar Dislocation/surgery, Patellofemoral Joint/surgery, Prospective Studies, Sutures, Tendons/transplantation, Young Adult

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