The outcomes of quadriceps tendon autograft for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in adolescent athletes: a retrospective case series

Natalie H. Vaughn, Mark L. Dunleavy, Trevor Jackson, William Hennrikus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Multiple graft options exist for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction in an adolescent athlete. Patellar tendon harvest can lead to anterior knee pain, while hamstring tendon harvest can affect knee flexion strength and alter mechanics. Allograft is less desirable in pediatric patients due to the higher failure rate and slight risk of disease transmission. Quadriceps tendon autograft has rarely been reported for adolescent ACL reconstruction in the USA, but is an excellent option due to its large size, low donor site morbidity, and versatility. The purpose of this study is to report the outcomes of adolescents who have undergone ACL reconstruction using quadriceps tendon autograft. Methods: Twenty-two ACL reconstructions using the quadriceps autograft were performed on 21 pediatric patients by the senior author between 2010 and 2017. The patient’s demographics, injury characteristics, imaging, physical examination findings, operative findings, outcomes and sports were recorded. Results: The average age at the time of surgery was 15 years. Two patients had open physes; the remainder had closing physes. 64% of patients had additional meniscal tears and 76% had bony contusions. The average duration of follow-up was 2.8 years (range 2–5 years). At final follow-up, there were no angular deformities or leg length discrepancies. The average quadriceps atrophy of the operative leg was 4 mm. The average Lysholm score was 98. 86% of patients returned to sports. No patients had re-rupture of their operative ACL. No incidences of infections, numbness, or anterior knee pain were reported. Two patients had a second arthroscopy for re-injury, revealing new meniscal tears but intact ACL grafts. Conclusions: Use of quadriceps tendon autograft for ACL reconstruction in adolescent patients allows reliable return to sport with minimal complications. Level of evidence: Level IV, retrospective case series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-744
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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