A Systematic Review of Failed Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction With Autograft Compared With Allograft in Young Patients

David Wasserstein, Ujash Sheth, Alison Cabrera, Kurt P. Spindler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Context: The advantages of allograft anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR), which include shorter surgical time, less postoperative pain, and no donor site morbidity, may be offset by a higher risk of failure. Previous systematic reviews have inconsistently shown a difference in failure prevalence by graft type; however, such reviews have never been stratified for younger or more active patients. Objective: To determine whether there is a different ACLR failure prevalence of autograft compared with allograft in young, active patients. Data Sources: EMBASE, MEDLINE, Cochrane trials registry. Study Selection: Comparative studies of allograft versus autograft primary ACL reconstruction in patients <25 years of age or of high-activity level (military, Marx activity score >12 points, collegiate or semiprofessional athletes). Study Design: Systematic review with meta-analysis. Level of Evidence: Level 3. Data Extraction: Manual extraction of available data from eligible studies. Quantitative synthesis of failure prevalence and Lysholm score (outcomes in ≥3 studies) and I2 test for heterogeneity. Assessment of study quality using CLEAR NPT and Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS). Results: Seven studies met inclusion criteria (1 level 1; 2 level 2, 4 level 3), including 788 patients treated with autograft tissue and 228 with various allografts. The mean age across studies was 21.7 years (64% male), and follow-up ranged between 24 and 51 months. The pooled failure prevalence was 9.6% (76/788) for autografts and 25.0% (57/228) for allografts (relative risk, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.24-0.53; P < 0.00001; I2 = 16%). The number needed to benefit to prevent 1 failure by using autograft was 7 patients (95% CI, 5-10). No difference between hamstrings autograft and patella tendon autograft was noted. Lysholm score was reported in 3 studies and did not differ between autograft and allograft. Conclusion: While systematic reviews comparing allograft and autograft ACLR have been equivocal, this is the first review to examine young and active patients in whom allograft performs poorly

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-216
Number of pages10
JournalSports Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 23 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • allograft
  • anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
  • autograft
  • revision
  • young age

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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