Among anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions on 111 sports-focused individuals age 18 years to 50 years, 31% of those individuals demonstrated evidence of osteoarthritis (OA) 1 year after reconstructive surgery. Evidence of OA in these cases met the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) standards of OA for either tibiofemoral OA or patellofrmoral OA.

The study, based at the University of Queensland School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Brisbane, Australia, revealed that the MRI characteristic of OA most often were identified in the patellofemoral compartments, and especially in the medial femoral trochlea, according to review published by Medpage Today.

Further information about disease progression found on the MRIs included bone marrow lesions, found in the femoral trochleae region among 19% of the study subjects, and cartilage lesions, found among 31% of the study subjects. Osteophytes were detected among 37% of the study subjects.

The researchers, led by Adam Culvenor, PT, state that according to the data they collected, ACL reconstruction does not restore a knee to normal.

All but three of the study subjects had ACLs damaged by sports injuries. Researchers determined that MRI-defined patellofemoral cartilage lesions were four times more likely to be found among study subjects who were older at that time of reconstruction.

The researchers also note that the current study provides evidence of the considerable extent of joint disease evident 1 year after ACL reconstruction. This conclusion, they assert, “challenges existing dogma that degenerative joint disease does not become apparent for years post-ACLR.”

[Source: Medpage Today]