A 10-year Retrospective Review of Functional Outcomes of Adolescent Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

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Abstract

Background:

Rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is an increasingly prevalent sporting injury in adolescents. Surgical reconstruction of the ACL in adolescents has been controversial and there has been little reported on functional outcomes after surgery.

Background:

The aim of this study was to undertake a retrospective notes review and questionnaire survey of a group of adolescents who had their ACL surgically reconstructed over the previous 10 years, assessing delay to surgery, levels of meniscal damage, reoperation rates, and functional outcomes.

Methods:

A retrospective chart review was performed on 100 adolescent patients who underwent arthroscopic ACL reconstruction using a transphyseal technique. These patients were also contacted and completed the Knee Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS).

Results:

One hundred patients had their records reviewed. The average age at follow-up was 20.5 (SD, 2.4) years. There were 49 females and 51 males. Meniscal tears were present in 76% of patients at the time of surgery. The rate of medial meniscal tears increased with delay to surgical intervention beyond 3 months. Reoperation rate for these patients was 24%.

Results:

Eighty patients completed the KOOS questionnaire. Patients were a mean of 4 (SD, 2.2) years postsurgery. The main findings indicate that in the 5 key KOOS domains patients scored a mean of 60 (SD, 13) for symptoms, 65 (SD, 10) for pain, 70 (SD, 6.4) for activities of daily living, 54 (SD, 17.6) for sport and recreation, and 47.2 (SD, 20.1) for quality of life.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates that young people with ACL injuries have a very high associated incidence of meniscal pathology at the time of surgery. There is a high reoperation rate for meniscal surgery and graft failure. Four years post-ACL reconstruction many have not yet returned to a fully functional state.

Conclusions

Further research to understand why functional outcomes are modest is required.

Level of Evidence:

Level IV—retrospective case series.

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