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A long-term serial histological evaluation of the patellar tendon in humans after harvesting its central third

Journal article
Authors M. Svensson
Jüri Kartus
L. R. Christensen
T. Movin
N. Papadogiannakis
Jón Karlsson
Published in Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc
Volume 13
Issue 5
Pages 398-404
ISSN 0942-2056 (Print)
Publication year 2005
Published at Institute of Surgical Sciences, Department of Orthopaedics
Pages 398-404
Language en
Keywords Adolescent, Adult, Biopsy/methods, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Male, *Patella, Tendons/anatomy & histology/*pathology/ultrasonography
Subject categories Orthopaedics


It is previously known that the patellar tendon does not normalise histologically in the short term after harvesting its central third. The aim of the study was to obtain long-term serial biopsies from the central and peripheral parts of the patellar tendon after the harvesting procedure. Our hypothesis was that in the long term after harvesting its central third, the patellar tendon does not regain normal histological appearance. Seventeen consecutive patients, who had undergone anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction using patellar tendon autografts, were included. Percutaneous biopsies were obtained under ultrasonographic guidance 27 (24-29) months and 71 (68-73) months after the index procedure, respectively. The sections were stained with haematoxylin and eosin. The biopsies were evaluated using light microscope. Both at 27 months and 71 months, the fibre structure was deteriorated and the vascularity and cellularity were increased compared with normal tendon. This was seen in both the central and peripheral parts of the tendon. In conclusion, nearly 6 years after harvesting its central third, the patellar tendon had still not normalised histologically, neither in the central nor peripheral parts of the tendon.

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