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At 10-Year Minimum Follow-up, One-third of Patients Have Patellofemoral Arthritis After Isolated Medial Patellofemoral Ligament Reconstruction Using Gracilis Tendon Autograft

      Purpose

      To report the long-term clinical outcomes after isolated medial patellofemoral ligament reconstruction (MPFLr) to treat recurrent patellar instability.

      Methods

      This was a single-center study of patients undergoing an isolated MPFLr between 2000 and 2011. All patients underwent reconstruction using hamstring autograft. The inclusion criteria were a minimum 10-year follow-up period and skeletally mature patients with more than 1 episode of patellar dislocation who underwent MPFLr without an associated bony procedure.

      Results

      A total of 54 knees were available for final analysis. The mean follow-up period was 12.3 years (range, 10-14 year). The mean age at surgery was 25 years. No patients had patellofemoral arthritis (PFA) prior to surgery. Preoperatively, the mean Caton-Deschamps index was 1.1 and the mean tibial tubercle–trochlear groove distance was 14.9 ± 2 mm (range, 7-17 mm). All patients had trochlear dysplasia according to the Dejour classification. At final follow-up, the mean Kujala score was 82.9 ± 15.3; mean International Knee Documentation Committee score, 78.3 ± 18.5; and mean Tegner score, 4.0 ± 1.7. Patients with an unsatisfactory outcome as determined by a Kujala score lower than 80 had a higher Caton-Deschamps index preoperatively and were more likely to be female patients; however, neither factor reached significance. Of the patients, 33 (66%) had no radiographic evidence of PFA whereas 15 (30%) had Iwano stage 1 and 2 had Iwano stage 2 (4%). At final follow-up, 4 patients (7.4%) had recurrent instability requiring revision surgery.

      Conclusions

      Isolated MPFLr with gracilis tendon autograft in appropriately selected patients is an effective long-term treatment for recurrent patellofemoral instability with low rates of recurrence. One-third of patients exhibit radiographic evidence of PFA more than 10 years after isolated MPFLr.

      Level of Evidence

      Level IV, case series.
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