Tibial tunnel enlargement and joint instability after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. A prospective comparison between autograft and allograft

<div><p>Abstract Purpose: To investigate tibial tunnel widening and knee instability after ACL reconstruction with hamstring autograft or irradiated soft tissue allograft. Methods: Eight-two patients were divided into two groups: autograft group and allograft group. Radiographic and clinical evaluations were performed. Results: Seventy patients were followed up with median of 36.3 months (range 36-38 months). Tibial tunnel widening was at or greater than 30% for nine patients in the autograft group and 15 patients in the allograft group (P = 0.0417). The average percentage of tibial tunnel widening was 26.7 ± 4.0 % and 29.7 ± 5.3 % in autograft and allograft groups, respectively (P = 0.0090). Knee range of motion was not affected by the reconstruction operation or different grafts. Thigh atrophy improved significantly within 24 months after ACL reconstructions in both groups. ACL reconstruction with the allograft leaded to less knee stability than that with the autograft from one year after operation (P = 0.0023). There was no significant difference between two groups with respect to Lysholm score (P = 0.1925) and Tegner score (P =0 .0918) at the final follow-up. Conclusion: The allograft group reported significantly more tibial tunnel widening and knee instability compared with the autograft group.</p></div>