Systematic Review|Articles in Press

Medial Collateral Ligament Reconstruction and Repair Show Similar Improvement in Outcome Scores, But Repair Shows Higher Rates of Knee Stiffness and Failure: A Systematic Review


      To compare patient-reported outcomes and complications in patients with medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries undergoing repair versus reconstruction with a minimum 2-year follow-up.


      A literature search was conducted using the PubMed, Scopus, and Embase-computerized databases from database inception to November 2022, according to the 2020 Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Studies evaluating clinical outcomes and complications at a minimum of 2 years following MCL repair versus reconstruction were included. Study quality was assessed using the MINORS criteria.


      A total of 18 studies published from 1997 to 2022, consisting of 503 patients were identified. Twelve studies (n = 308 patients; mean age: 32.6 years) reported outcomes following MCL reconstruction, and 8 studies (n = 195 patients; mean age: 28.5 years) reported results following MCL repair. Postoperative International Knee Documentation Committee, Lysholm, and Tegner scores ranged from 67.6 to 91, 75.8 to 94.8, and 4.4 to 8, respectively, in the MCL reconstruction group, compared to 73 to 91, 75.1 to 98.5, and 5.2 to 10, respectively, in the MCL repair group. Knee stiffness was the most commonly reported complication following MCL repair (range: 0% - 50%) and reconstruction (range: 0% - 26.7%). Failures occurred in 0% to 14.6% of patients following reconstruction versus 0% to 35.1% of patients undergoing MCL repair. Manipulation under anesthesia (MUA) for postoperative arthrofibrosis (range: 0% - 12.2%) and surgical debridement for arthrofibrosis (range: 0% - 20%) were the most commonly reported reoperations in the MCL reconstruction and repair groups, respectively.


      MCL reconstruction versus repair both demonstrate improved International Knee Documentation Committee, Lysholm, and Tegner scores. MCL repair demonstrates higher rates of postoperative knee stiffness and failure at a minimum 2-year follow-up.

      Level of Evidence

      Level IV, systematic review of Level III and IV studies.
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