Background: It has been suggested that the degree of anterior tibial translation (ATT) as measured passively on imaging studies (static ATT) after an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury may influence outcomes after ACL reconstruction. However, there is a lack of evidence supporting these suggestions. Questions/Purposes: The purpose of this retrospective prognostic study was to assess the predictive value of pre-operative static ATT in knees with ACL injury on return to sport and in satisfaction after ACL reconstruction. Our hypothesis was that greater static ATT would be associated with lower rates of return to sport and lower levels of satisfaction. Methods: Patients treated with ACL reconstruction were identified from an institutional registry and assigned to one of three groups according to their ACL injury type: acute ACL injury, chronic ACL injury, and failed ACL reconstruction. ATT in each knee compartment was measured using magnetic resonance imaging, and a retrospective telephone questionnaire was used to investigate post-ACL reconstruction return to sport and subjects’ satisfaction. Results: One hundred thirty patients (52 acute with ACL injury, 29 with chronic ACL injury, and 49 with failed ACL reconstruction) completed the questionnaire, with a mean follow-up of 5.67 years. Ninety-seven patients (74.6%) returned to their primary sport, of whom 63 (65%) returned to the same level of sport. The mean time to return to sport was 10.1 months (range, 2 to 24 months). Overall, 113 patients (87%) were either very satisfied or satisfied with their outcomes. No difference in medial or lateral ATT was found between patients who returned to sport and those who did not. The failed-ACL reconstruction group had significantly lower rates of return to sport than did acutely and chronically injured patients (60.4% versus 88.5% and 75.9%, respectively). Conclusion: The degree of pre-operative ATT in an ACL-deficient knee was not correlated with return to sport or satisfaction after ACL reconstruction. In this study cohort, only failed-ACL reconstruction patients undergoing revision ACL reconstruction were significantly less likely to return to their main sport. They were also less likely to return to sport at their pre-operative level, if they did return to sport.
- anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
- magnetic resonance imaging
- return to sport
- static anterior tibial translation