Do Bone-Patellar Tendon-Bone ACL-Reconstructed Knees Have More Signs of Patellofemoral Posttraumatic Osteoarthritis Than Their Uninjured Contralateral Knees at 2 Years?

Journal Article (Journal Article)


The prevalence of patellofemoral joint (PFJ) osteoarthritis ranges from 8% to 47% at 7 to 10 years after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) using bone-patellar tendon-bone (BTB) autograft. In performing BTB ACLR, some hypothesize that either trauma caused by harvest of the BTB autograft or altered biomechanics contributes to PFJ posttraumatic osteoarthritis.


To determine whether knees with ACLR using a BTB autograft show early signs of posttraumatic osteoarthritis as compared with the contralateral uninjured knee 2 years after ACLR. We hypothesized that a BTB autograft will not increase the prevalence of PFJ osteoarthritis.

Study design

Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.


Bilateral knee 3-T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were collected in 57 patients (mean age, 20.3 years; 28 men) from a single site at a minimum of 2 years after ACLR. Structural MRI assessment of the knees was performed using the MRI Osteoarthritis Knee Score semiquantitative scoring system by a board-certified musculoskeletal radiologist. The presence of cartilage defects in the patellofemoral compartment was compared between the reconstructed and contralateral uninjured knees using logistic regression analyses.


There were no significant differences in the prevalence of cartilage defects (full thickness or any thickness) in the PFJ between the BTB ACLR knees and the contralateral control knees: 38.6% of BTB ACLR knees had PFJ cartilage defects versus 31.6% of contralateral control knees (P > .391). The 95% CI for the difference between these groups was -9.0% to 23.0%.


When comparing BTB ACLR knees with the uninjured contralateral knees in the study patients, we failed to observe statistically significant differences in the prevalence of PFJ cartilage lesions of full thickness or any thickness. These results should be used in shared decision-making with athletes when choosing the appropriate autograft during reconstruction. Our wide 95% CIs secondary to a smaller sample size demonstrate a need for larger studies in this area to more accurately describe the difference between the operative and contralateral knees.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Oak, SR; Cantrell, WA; Altahawi, F; Li, X; Winalski, CS; Flanigan, DC; Reinke, EK; Huston, LJ; Jones, MH; Spindler, KP

Published Date

  • January 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 9 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 2325967120973050 -

PubMed ID

  • 33490295

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7809528

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2325-9671

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2325-9671

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/2325967120973050


  • eng