Background: Graft selection in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery can be difficult in a young active population given their high rates of reinjury. Allografts allow for control over graft size and reduce morbidity of autograft harvest. There are mixed results about the use of allograft in the literature; however, the influence of the properties of the allograft on outcomes has not been considered.

Hypothesis: ACL reconstruction with allografts from older donors will have a higher rate of graft rupture when compared with allograft from young donors.

Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods: Patients (N = 211) aged 13 to 25 years underwent primary ACL reconstruction with fresh-frozen nonirradiated allograft. Four graft types were used: patellar tendon, Achilles tendon, tibialis anterior, and tibialis posterior. Details were collected on allograft donor age and sex. At a minimum of 24 months, patients were evaluated for any further injuries and subjective analysis by International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) questionnaire.

Results: ACL graft rupture occurred in 23.5%. When grafts were separated into single strand (patellar and Achilles tendon) and multistrand (tibialis anterior and posterior), there was a significantly higher rate of reinjury in the single-strand grafts (29.9% vs 11%; P = .014). Grafts from female donors aged ≥50 years had significantly higher rates of ACL graft rupture (52.6%; P = .003) with increased odds by 6.7 times when compared with grafts from male donors aged donor.

Conclusion: The age and sex of the allograft donor and the morphology of the graft significantly influenced the rate of ACL graft rupture in young active patients. Tendons from female donors aged ≥50 years should be avoided given the higher rerupture rates as compared with male donors of any age and younger females.


allograft, donor sex, donor age, anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction

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