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Scientific Articles   |    
Rehabilitation After Anterior Cruciate Ligament ReconstructionA Systematic Review
L.M. Kruse, MD1; B. Gray, MD1; R.W. Wright, MD1
1 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid Avenue, Campus Box 8233, St. Louis, MO 63110. E-mail address for R.W. Wright: wright@wudosis.wustl.edu
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Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri

A commentary by Robert J. Johnson, MD, and Bruce D. Beynnon, PhD, is linked to the online version of this article at jbjs.org.



Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. One or more of the authors, or his or her institution, has had a financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with an entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. No author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2012 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2012 Oct 03;94(19):1737-1748. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.K.01246
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Abstract

Background: 

Rigorous rehabilitation after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction is necessary for a successful surgical outcome. A large number of clinical trials continue to assess aspects of this rehabilitation process. Prior systematic reviews evaluated fifty-four Level-I and II clinical trials published through 2005.

Methods: 

Eighty-five articles from 2006 to 2010 were identified utilizing multiple search engines. Twenty-nine Level-I or II studies met inclusion criteria and were evaluated with use of the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) criteria. Topics included in this review are postoperative bracing, accelerated strengthening, home-based rehabilitation, proprioception and neuromuscular training, and six miscellaneous topics investigated in single trials.

Results: 

Bracing following ACL reconstruction remains neither necessary nor beneficial and adds to the cost of the procedure. Early return to sports needs further research. Home-based rehabilitation can be successful. Although neuromuscular interventions are not likely to be harmful to patients, they are also not likely to yield large improvements in outcomes or help patients return to sports faster. Thus, they should not be performed to the exclusion of strengthening and range-of-motion exercises. Vibration training may lead to faster and more complete proprioceptive recovery but further evidence is needed.

Conclusions: 

Several new modalities for rehabilitation after ACL reconstruction may be helpful but should not be performed to the exclusion of range-of-motion, strengthening, and functional exercises. Accelerated rehabilitation does not appear to be harmful but further investigation of rehabilitation timing is warranted.

Level of Evidence: 

Therapeutic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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