Anterior cruciate ligament repair with internal brace augmentation : a systematic review

Wilson, W.T. and Hopper, G.P. and Banger, M.S. and Blyth, M.J.G. and Riches, P.E. and Mackay, G.M. (2022) Anterior cruciate ligament repair with internal brace augmentation : a systematic review. The Knee, 35. pp. 192-200. ISSN 0968-0160 (

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Background Primary repair of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures has re-emerged as a treatment option for proximal tears, with internal brace augmentation often utilised. The aim of this study is to provide an overview of the current evidence presenting outcomes of ACL repair with internal bracing to assess the safety and efficacy of this technique. Methods All studies reporting outcomes of arthroscopic primary repair of proximal ACL tears, augmented with internal bracing from 2014-2021 were included. Primary outcome was failure rate and secondary outcomes were subjective patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) and objective assessment of anteroposterior knee laxity. Results Nine studies were included, consisting of 347 patients, mean age 32.5 years, mean minimum follow up 2 years. There were 36 failures (10.4%, CI 7.4% - 14.1%). PROMs reporting was variable across studies. KOOS, Lysholm and IKDC scores were most frequently used with mean scores > 87%. The mean Tegner and Marx scores at follow-up were 6.1 and 7.8 respectively. The mean side to side difference measured for anteroposterior knee laxity was 1.2mm. Conclusions This systematic review with meta-analysis shows that ACL repair with internal bracing is a safe technique for treatment of proximal ruptures, with a failure rate of 10.4%. Subjective scores and clinical laxity testing also revealed satisfactory results. This suggests that ACL repair with internal bracing should be considered as an alternative to ACL reconstruction for acute proximal tears, with the potential benefits of retained native tissue and proprioception, as well as negating the need for graft harvest.