Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research ®

A Publication of The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons ®

Risk of Revision Was Not Reduced by a Double-bundle ACL Reconstruction Technique: Results From the Scandinavian Registers

Cathrine Aga MD, Jüri-Tomas Kartus MD, PhD, Martin Lind MD, PhD, Stein Håkon Låstad Lygre PhD, Lars-Petter Granan MD, PhD, Lars Engebretsen MD, PhD



Double-bundle anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction has demonstrated improved biomechanical properties and moderately better objective outcomes compared with single-bundle reconstructions. This could make an impact on the rerupture rate and reduce the risk of revisions in patients undergoing double-bundle ACL reconstruction compared with patients reconstructed with a traditional single-bundle technique. The National Knee Ligament Registers in Scandinavia provide information that can be used to evaluate the revision outcome after ACL reconstructions.


The purposes of the study were (1) to compare the risk of revision between double-bundle and single-bundle reconstructions, reconstructed with autologous hamstring tendon grafts; (2) to compare the risk of revision between double-bundle hamstring tendon and single-bundle bone-patellar tendon-bone autografts; and (3) to compare the hazard ratios for the same two research questions after Cox regression analysis was performed.


Data collection of primary ACL reconstructions from the National Knee Ligament Registers in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden from July 1, 2005, to December 31, 2014, was retrospectively analyzed. A total of 60,775 patients were included in the study; 994 patients were reconstructed with double-bundle hamstring tendon grafts, 51,991 with single-bundle hamstring tendon grafts, and 7790 with single-bundle bone-patellar tendon-bone grafts. The double-bundle ACL-reconstructed patients were compared with the two other groups. The risk of revision for each research question was detected by the risk ratio, hazard ratio, and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to estimate survival at 1, 2, and 5 years for the three different groups. Furthermore, a Cox proportional hazard regression model was applied and the hazard ratios were adjusted for country, age, sex, meniscal or chondral injury, and utilized fixation devices on the femoral and tibial sides.


There were no differences in the crude risk of revision between the patients undergoing the double-bundle technique and the two other groups. A total of 3.7% patients were revised in the double-bundle group (37 of 994 patients) versus 3.8% in the single-bundle hamstring tendon group (1952 of 51,991; risk ratio, 1.01; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.73–1.39; p = 0.96), and 2.8% of the patients were revised in the bone-patellar tendon-bone group (219 of the 7790 bone-patellar tendon-bone patients; risk ratio, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.54–1.06; p = 0.11). Cox regression analysis with adjustment for country, age, sex, menisci or cartilage injury, and utilized fixation device on the femoral and tibial sides, did not reveal any further difference in the risk of revision between the single-bundle hamstring tendon and double-bundle hamstring tendon groups (hazard ratio, 1.18; 95% CI, 0.85–1.62; p = 0.33), but the adjusted hazard ratio showed a lower risk of revision in the single-bundle bone-patellar tendon-bone group compared with the double-bundle group (hazard ratio, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.43–0.90; p = 0.01). Comparisons of the graft revision rates reported separately for each country revealed that double-bundle hamstring tendon reconstructions in Sweden had a lower hazard ratio compared with the single-bundle hamstring tendon reconstructions (hazard ratio, 1.00 versus 1.89; 95% CI, 1.09–3.29; p = 0.02). Survival at 5 years after index surgery was 96.0% for the double-bundle group, 95.4% for the single-bundle hamstring tendon group, and 97.0% for the single-bundle bone-patellar tendon-bone group.


Based on the data from all three national registers, the risk of revision was not influenced by the reconstruction technique in terms of using single- or double-bundle hamstring tendons, although national differences in survival existed. Using bone-patellar tendon-bone grafts lowered the risk of revision compared with double-bundle hamstring tendon grafts. These findings should be considered when deciding what reconstruction technique to use in ACL-deficient knees. Future studies identifying the reasons for graft rerupture in single- and double-bundle reconstructions would be of interest to understand the findings of the present study.

Level of Evidence

Level III, therapeutic study.

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