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2001 Publications

The effect on leg strength of tourniquet use during anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: A prospective randomized studyby Nicholas SJ, Tyler TF, McHugh MP, Gleim GW. - last modified 2012-11-27 09:09
Arthroscopy. 17:603-607, 2001.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to prospectively evaluate the effect of tourniquet use during endoscopic ACL reconstruction surgery on dorsiflexion strength, plantarflexion strength, quadriceps strength, and calf and thigh girth.

Type of study: The study was a prospective, double-blind, randomized clinical trial.

Materials and Methods: Forty-eight patients were prospectively randomized into two groups: 1) Tourniquet use during surgery (T) and, 2) No tourniquet use during surgery (NT). Within one week prior to ACL reconstruction, all patients were evaluated for isometric plantar and dorsiflexion strength, thigh strength, and thigh and calf girth. These same measurements were repeated three weeks post-operatively. At 6 months isokinetic quadriceps strength was evaluated at 60 deg/s. All patients underwent ACL reconstruction using a patella tendon autograft and a tourniquet was placed on the affected extremity. In all 25 T patients the tourniquet was inflated to 300mm/Hg. The average tourniquet time was 85±7 min (range 51-114 mins.).

Results: ACL reconstruction resulted in a significant decrease in thigh girth (P<0.01), calf girth (P<0.01), dorsiflexion strength (P<0.01) and plantarflexion strength (P<0.05) at 3 weeks post-op in both groups. The T group had a greater decrease in thigh girth than the NT group (p<0.05). Tourniquet use did not have an effect on calf girth (P=0.53), dorsiflexion strength (P=0.17) or plantarflexion strength (P=0.32) at 3 weeks post-op. Tourniquet use also had no effect on quadriceps strength at 6 months post-op (P=0.78).

Conclusions: Tourniquet use (< 114 mins.) during ACL reconstruction had no effect on the strength of the lower extremity following surgery.