Challenges in the Management of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Ruptures in Skeletally Immature Patients

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Although initially considered rare, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures in pediatric patients recently have increased substantially as a result of greater awareness of the injury and increased participation in youth sports. Although pediatric patients with an ACL injury and a clinically stable joint may handle the injury well and return to sports activity without requiring surgical reconstruction, young, active patients with an ACL rupture and an unstable joint may be good candidates for ACL reconstruction to prevent ongoing instability and additional joint damage. ACL reconstruction techniques have been developed to prevent physeal injury in skeletally immature patients. The surgical treatment of skeletally immature patients with an ACL rupture may differ from that of adults with an ACL rupture and presents unique challenges with regard to reconstruction technique selection, graft preparation, rehabilitation, and return to sports activity. Orthopaedic surgeons should understand various physeal-sparing ACL reconstruction techniques and the general challenges associated with the surgical management of ACL ruptures in pediatric patients.

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