Less than 1% risk of donor-site quadriceps tendon rupture post-ACL reconstruction with quadriceps tendon autograft: a systematic review Journal Articles uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to develop a comprehensive complications profile for quadriceps tendon-autograft anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (QT ACL-R). METHODS: A traditional and grey literature search was conducted in accordance with PRISMA and R-AMSTAR guidelines. PubMed, EMBASE, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Cochrane, Web of Science, and many grey literature sources were searched from inception to May 29, 2022. All studies were searched and screened in duplicate with included studies being of all levels of evidence, reporting complications, and with patients of all ages undergoing primary ACL reconstruction with quadriceps tendon autograft in the last 15 years. Studies were excluded if they had cadaveric or animal subjects or were reviews. Risk of bias assessment was conducted using MINORS criteria for non-randomised studies and Cochrane's RoB 2.0 for randomised studies. Data were summarised with weighted event rates generated under a random-effects model. RESULTS: A total of 55 studies (5315 reconstructions) were included: 32 used quadriceps tendon with bone block (B-QT), 19 used all-soft tissue quadriceps tendon (S-QT), and four did not report the QT graft subtype used. Included patients had an age range of 6.2-58 years and an average reported follow-up time of 28.1 months (range, 6-90 months) for non-randomised studies and 34.3 months (range, 0.233-120 months) for randomised studies. Pooled incidence rates for clinically relevant major complications included contralateral ACL injury at 6.0%, postoperative meniscal issues at 5.4%, cyclops lesions at 4.8%, graft failure at 4.1%, patellar fracture at 2.2%, hardware removal at 1.7%, infection at 1.5%, and donor-site quadriceps tendon rupture at 0.7%. Pooled incidence rates for clinically relevant minor complications included anterior knee pain at 9.7%, kneeling pain at 9.5%, sensation deficits at 4.4%, loss of extension at 4.2%, donor-site tendinopathy at 3.9%, cosmetic issues at 1.8%, and hematoma at 1.5%. CONCLUSIONS: QT ACL-R resembles other graft types in its rates and types of postoperative complications. In this exploratory systematic review, no complications of QT ACL-R were found to be disproportionately represented in the literature. This graft type should remain an option with comparable complication rates to other graft choices. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV. REGISTRATION: This study was preregistered under PROSPERO with preregistration code CRD42022302078.


  • Singh, Harasees
  • Glassman, Isaac
  • Sheean, Andrew
  • Hoshino, Yuichi
  • Nagai, Kanto
  • de SA, Darren

publication date

  • February 2023