ACL reconstruction with hamstring tendon autograft and accelerated bracefree rehabilitation: a systematic review of clinical outcomes

Rob Janssen, Nicky van Melick, Jan B. A. van Mourik, Max Reijman, Lodewijk van Rhijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objective
To investigate the clinical outcomes after hamstring tendon autograft ACL reconstruction (ACLR) with accelerated, brace-free rehabilitation.

Design
Systematic review according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines.

Data sources
Embase, MEDLINE Ovid, Web of Science, Cochrane CENTRAL and Google scholar from 1 January 1974 to 31 January 2017.

Eligibility criteria for selecting studies
Study designs reporting outcomes in adults after arthroscopic, primary ACLR with hamstring autograft and accelerated, brace-free rehabilitation.

Results
Twenty-four studies were included in the review. The clinical outcomes after hamstring tendon autograft ACLR with accelerated brace-free rehabilitation were the following: (1) early start of open kinetic exercises at 4 weeks in a limited range of motion (ROM, 90°−45°) and progressive concentric and eccentric exercises from 12 weeks did not alter outcomes, (2) gender and age did not influence clinical outcomes, (3) anatomical reconstructions showed better results than non-anatomical reconstructions, (4) there was no difference between single-bundle and double-bundle reconstructions, (5) femoral and tibial tunnel widening occurred, (6) hamstring tendons regenerated after harvest and (7) biological knowledge did not support return to sports at 4–6 months.

Conclusions
After hamstring tendon autograft ACLR with accelerated brace-free rehabilitation, clinical outcome is similar after single-bundle and double-bundle ACLR. Early start of open kinetic exercises at 4 weeks in a limited ROM (90°−45°) and progressive concentric and eccentric exercises from 12 weeks postsurgery do not alter clinical outcome. Further research should focus on achievement of best balance between graft loading and graft healing in the various rehabilitation phases after ACLR as well as on validated, criterion-based assessments for safe return to sports.

Level of evidence Level 2b; therapeutic outcome studies
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000301
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalBJM Open Sport & Exercise Medicine
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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