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This article is the author's final published version in Arthroscopy, Sports Medicine, and Rehabilitation, Volume 6, Issue 2, 2024, Article number 100902.

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PURPOSE: To (1) perform a systematic review of level I randomized controlled trials (RCTs) detailing the incidence of anterior knee pain and kneeling pain following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) with bone-patellar tendon-bone (BPTB) autograft and (2) investigate the effect of bone grafting the patellar harvest site on anterior knee and kneeling pain.

METHODS: A systematic review of level I studies from 1980 to 2023 was performed according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. The primary outcome evaluated was the presence of donor site morbidity in the form of anterior knee pain or kneeling pain. A secondary subanalysis was performed to assess for differences in the incidence of postoperative pain between patient groups undergoing ACLR with BPTB receiving harvest site bone grafting and those in whom the defect was left untreated.

RESULTS: Following full-text review, 15 studies reporting on a total of 696 patients met final inclusion criteria. Patients were followed for an average of 4.78 years (range, 2.0-15.3), and the mean age ranged from 21.7 to 38 years old. The incidence of anterior knee pain, calculated from 354 patients across 10 studies, ranged from 5.4% to 48.4%. The incidence of postoperative pain with kneeling was determined to range from 4.0% to 75.6% in 490 patients from 9 studies. Patients treated with bone grafting of the BPTB harvest site had no significant difference in incidence of any knee pain compared with those who were not grafted, with incidences of 43.3% and 40.2%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on the current level I RCT data, the incidences of anterior knee pain and kneeling pain following ACLR with BPTB autograft range from 5.4% to 48.4% and 4.0% to 75.6%, respectively.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level I, systematic review of RCTs.

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