No difference between full thickness and partial thickness quadriceps tendon autografts in anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: a systematic review Journal Articles uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: The purpose of this review was to compare outcomes and complication profiles of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL-R) between full thickness (FT-Q) and partial thickness (PT-Q) quadriceps tendon (QT) autografts. METHODS: As per PRISMA guidelines, PubMed, EMBASE, and MEDLINE were searched in September 2017 for English language, human studies of all levels of evidence on patients undergoing primary ACL-R with FT-Q or PT-Q. This search was repeated in March 2018 to capture additional articles. Data regarding postoperative outcomes and complications were abstracted. Due to heterogeneous reporting, data were not combined in meta-analysis and were summarized descriptively. RESULTS: Upon screening 3670 titles, 18 studies satisfied inclusion/exclusion criteria. The second search identified an additional two studies for a total of 20 studies (50% case-control, 50% case series). These studies examined 1212 patients (1219 knees) of mean age 29.8 years (range 15-59) followed a mean of 42.2 months (range 12-120). FT-Q and PT-Q autografts were used in eight studies (50.5% of knees), and thirteen studies (49.5% of knees), respectively. Only one study directly compared FT-Q to PT-Q. Instrumented laxity was less than 3 mm in 74.8 and 72.4% of the FT-Q and PT-Q groups, respectively. Postoperative IKDC Subjective Knee Form scores were similar between the FT-Q (82.5) and PT-Q (82.1) groups. Postoperative quadriceps strength, measured as a percentage of the contralateral side, were similar in the FT-Q (89.5%) and PT-Q (85.1%) groups. Graft failure rates for the FT-Q and PT-Q groups were 3.7 and 3.0%, respectively. CONCLUSION: Across the 20 studies included in this review, there appeared to be no difference in outcomes or complications between either FT-Q or PT-Q in primary ACL-R. Moreover, primary ACL-R using QT autografts appears to have successful outcomes with a low rate of graft failure, irrespective of tendon thickness. While further comparative studies are needed to better delineate the optimal thickness of quadriceps tendon for primary ACL-R, these data suggest that, in primary ACL-R, either FT-Q or PT-Q is efficacious and, in the clinical setting, surgeons may be justified in using either graft thickness. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: IV, Systematic Review of Level III and IV studies.


  • Kanakamedala, Ajay C
  • de SA, Darren
  • Obioha, Obianuju A
  • Arakgi, Michelle E
  • Schmidt, Patrick B
  • Lesniak, Bryson P
  • Musahl, Volker

publication date

  • January 2019