Background Return to sport and to pre-injury level represents an important outcome after both primary and revision anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions.
Purpose The aim of the present meta-analysis was to determine the return to sport rate after revision ACL reconstruction.
Material and methods A systematic search was performed of the MEDLINE, Embase and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials Databases. All the studies that reported return to sport, return to pre-injury sport level and return to high level/competitive sport was considered for the meta-analysis. The overall pooled mean of post-operative knee laxity and pooled rate of positive pivot-shift and objective International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) categories was calculated as well.
Results Overall, 472 abstracts were identified and screened for inclusion and only 16 studies reported the rate of return to any level of sport activity at the final follow-up of 4.7 years (range 1.0–13.2 years), showing a pooled rate of 85.3% (CI 79.7 to 90.2). The return to pre-injury sport level was achieved in 53.4% (CI 37.8 to 68.7) of cases. Normal or quasi-normal objective IKDC, less than 5 mm of side-to-side difference at arthrometric evaluations and grade I-II pivot-shift test were reported in 84%, 88% and 93% patients, respectively.
Conclusions In spite of almost 8 patients out of 10 returning to sport after revision ACL reconstruction and showing good stability, only half of the patients returned to the same pre-injury sport level.