Original Article| Volume 28, ISSUE 2, P403-407, March 2023

Changes in patellar height after anatomical ACL reconstruction with BTB autograft with a focus on patellar tendon removal volume

Published:January 04, 2022DOI:



      Although anatomical anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) can provide satisfactory outcomes, little is known about how this procedure impacts patellar height. Since harvesting bone-patellar tendon-bone (BTB) autografts is a potential risk factor for decreased patellar height, we examined changes in patellar height after anatomical ACLR with BTB autograft with a focus on the size of the harvested graft.


      Subjects were 84 patients (49 males, 35 females; mean age, 23 years) who underwent primary anatomical ACLR with central third BTB autograft. Preoperative to postoperative Caton-Deschamps index (CDI) ratio was calculated using lateral knee radiographs before and 6 months after surgery. The length and cross-sectional area (CSA) of the graft were measured intraoperatively, and the CSA of the contralateral patellar tendon was measured by ultrasound 6 months postoperatively. The difference in graft CSA relative to the contralateral tendon CSA, expressed as a percentage (gCSA:ctCSA percentage), was also calculated.


      Patellar height decreased slightly after surgery (preoperative CDI: 0.856 ± 0.113; postoperative CDI: 0.841 ± 0.113), with a mean difference between preoperative and postoperative CDIs of −0.015 (range: −0.293 to 0.101). Although the CDI of male subjects significantly decreased after surgery (preoperative: 0.852 ± 0.117; postoperative: 0.827 ± 0.115), no significant changes were noted in female subjects (preoperative: 0.862 ± 0.108; postoperative: 0.861 ± 0.108). Graft length and CSA did not significantly impact the CDI ratio (r = −0.138 and r = −0.038, respectively). Moreover, no significant relationship was observed between the gCSA:ctCSA percentage and CDI ratio (r = 0.118).


      Although patellar height slightly, but significantly, decreased at 6 months after anatomical ACLR with BTB autograft, it was not affected by the length and CSA of harvested grafts. The decrease in postoperative patellar height was observed only in male subjects, suggesting the potential importance of sex differences in soft tissue healing during the postoperative period.
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