PURPOSE: Patellar tendon rupture is a serious complication of total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Its reconstruction in patients with chronic ruptures is technically demanding. This article reports the results of surgical reconstruction of neglected patellar tendon rupture in TKA using autologous hamstring tendons. METHODS: Nine TKA patients (six women and three men) (mean age at index surgery 68 years) with chronic patellar tendon tears underwent reconstruction with ipsilateral hamstrings tendon, leaving the distal insertion in situ. The clinical diagnosis was supported by imaging (anterior-posterior and 30° flexion lateral radiographs). Insall-Salvati index, range of motion, and leg extension test were recorded preoperatively and at last follow-up. The modified Cincinnati rating system and the Kujala score were administered. The patients sustained the patellar tendon tear an average of 8 weeks before the procedure. RESULTS: At final follow-up of 4 years (range 2-8 years), the median of extension lag was 5° (range 0°-15°; DS = 5). The median of post-operative Insall-Salvati index was 1.4 (range 1.3-1.8; SD = 0.15; p = 0.002) compared to the preoperative index of 1.7 (range 1.5-2.2; SD = 0.23). The mean modified Cincinnati and Kujala scores significantly increased compared with the preoperative ones (p < 0.01). At final follow-up, all patients were able to walk without brace or aids, and they were satisfied with the procedure. CONCLUSION: Based on our retrospective study of nine patients, reconstruction of neglected patellar tendon rupture in TKA with autologous hamstring tendons is feasible and safe, and provides good functional recovery. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Case series, Level IV. KEYWORDS: Chronic rupture; Extensor mechanism insufficiency; Hamstring tendon autograft reconstruction; Patellar tendon rupture; Total knee arthroplasty
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