Tunnel placement in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction: quality control in a teaching hospital
Journal Paper/Review - Sep 2, 2006
Behrend Henrik, Stutz G, Kessler M A, Rukavina A, Giesinger Karlmeinrad, Kuster M S
Correct placement of the femoral and tibial bone tunnels is decisive for a successful anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Our method of tunnel placement was evaluated as part of quality control at a teaching hospital. The emphasis was placed mainly on investigating the influence of surgical experience on tunnel placement, and the effect of tunnel position on the clinical outcome. Seventeen surgeons with different levels of experience (between 0 and >150 ACL reconstructions) performed endoscopic ACL repair in uniform technique from August 2000 to August 2003 on 50 patients (18 women, 32 men, age range 18-43 years). The patients were available to clinical and radiological follow-up after an average of 19 months. The clinical outcome was classified according to the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) standard evaluation form. The femoral tunnel was evaluated according to the quadrant method of Bernard and Hertel; the position of the tibial bone tunnel was assessed according to the criteria of Stäubli and Rauschnig. The IKDC score revealed 47 (94%) patients with a normal (A) or nearly normal (B) knee joint at follow-up. According to the quadrant method, the femoral canal was situated on average at 29% in the saggital plane. The tibial tunnel was situated on average at 43% of the a.p. diameter of the tibial condyle. Statistical analysis of our data showed no significant correlation between tunnel placement and surgical expertise. However, a highly significant correlation was found (alpha<0.01) between the femoral position of the tunnel in the sagittal plane and the IKDC score. The more anterior the femoral canal, the poorer the IKDC score. The method of tunnel placement in ACL reconstruction being investigated here only showed slight dependence on surgical experience, whereby good short-term clinical outcomes were achieved. Therefore, the method is suitable for application at a teaching hospital. A far too anterior femoral tunnel placement will probably lead to a decline in the clinical result.