This is the editor's interpretation of the above paper published in the orthopaedic literature in 2004 - our attempt to make relevant medical articles accessible to lay readers. If you want to read the original it is easy to ask your librarian to obtain a reprint for you from any medical library.

Skutek M, Elsner H-A, Slateva K, Mayr H-O and Weig T-G, van Griensven M, Krettek C and Bosch U. Screening for arthrofibrosis after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: analysis of association with human leukocyte antigen. Arthroscopy. 2004;5:469-473.

This paper is interesting but inconclusive and probably can be considered as a pilot study. The authors were interested in trying to determine whether some people have a genetic susceptibility to the exaggerated scarring which is characteristic of arthrofibrosis.


The study

The authors identified 17 patients who had developed arthrofibrosis after autologous cruciate reconstruction, ie. where the graft had come from the patient him/herself. They took blood samples from these people and examined their DNA with respect to a group of genes already suspected of being implicated in other fibrous tissue disorders.

They did indeed find that these patients showed a significant difference from the norm in several of these genetic markers, but they concluded that the small population size in the study may have caused skewing of the results. They recommended that this study be followed by another one with a larger number of patients in the study, and also recommended looking at the same markers in patients who had had ACL repair but who had NOT developed arthrofibrosis.