Tourniquet Use Improves Intraoperative Parameters, Leading to Similar Postoperative Outcomes Compared With No Tourniquet Use in Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Prospective, Double-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial

Published:November 02, 2022DOI:


      To examine the effect of tourniquet use in arthroscopic anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in terms of: (1) intraoperative visualization with operative time and consumption of sterile saline, and (2) intra- and postoperative blood loss, postoperative pain, opioid consumption, swelling, serum creatine phosphokinase (CPK) and hemoglobin (Hb) concentrations, clinical outcomes, and graft healing.


      In this prospective randomized clinical trial, patients were assigned to tourniquet inflation (tourniquet-up) or tourniquet deflation (tourniquet-down) groups. Primary outcomes were intraoperative visualization with operative time and sterile saline consumption. Secondary outcomes were intra- and postoperative blood loss, postoperative pain, opioid consumption, swelling, serum CPK, Hb concentration, subjective and objective functional scores, and graft healing.


      Intraoperative visualization was satisfactory in 100 of 100 cases in the tourniquet-up group and 64 of 100 cases in the tourniquet-down group (P < .05). The mean operative time was 58.4 ± 5.7 minutes in the tourniquet-up group and 72.5 ± 8.6 minutes in the tourniquet-down group (P < .05). The mean sterile saline consumption was 6.4 ± 2.5 L in the tourniquet-up group and 8.7 ± 4.6 L in the tourniquet-down group (P < .05). The respective amounts of estimated intraoperative and postoperative blood loss were 95.3 ± 25.1 mL and 240.3 ± 44.5 mL in the tourniquet-up group and 230.2 ± 22.3 mL and 75.6 ± 15.3 mL in the tourniquet-down group (P < .05). Our results showed no significant difference in postoperative pain, opioid consumption, percentage of patients using opioids, swelling, mean serum CPK and Hb levels, subjective and objective functional scores, or graft healing (P > .05) between the 2 groups.


      Tourniquet use during anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction significantly improves intraoperative visualization, shortens operative time, and decreases intraoperative sterile saline consumption and blood loss without serious adverse events or greater complication rates based on early postoperative outcomes.

      Level of Evidence

      Level I, randomized controlled trial.
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