Trends in Management and Complications of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Pediatric Patients: A Survey of the PRiSM Society

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Abstract

Background:

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries have been recognized and treated with increasing frequency in children and adolescents. ACL reconstruction (ACLR) in skeletally immature patients has unique considerations and there is a large practice variation in the management of these injuries. The purpose of this study was to survey the members of the Pediatric Research in Sports Medicine (PRiSM) Society regarding their experience with the management and complications of pediatric ACL injuries.

Methods:

A 15-question survey was distributed to 71 orthopaedic members of the Pediatric Research in Sports Medicine study group.

Results:

Regarding treatment of an 8-year-old child with a complete ACL tear, 53% of respondents recommended iliotibial band reconstruction, 33% recommended all-epiphyseal reconstruction, and only 3% would treat nonoperatively in a brace. In adolescent patients with 2 years of growth remaining, 47% of respondents recommended a physeal “respecting” technique, 31% recommended a physeal-sparing technique, and 19% would perform an adult-style ACLR. There were 29 new cases of growth arrest reported.

Conclusions:

This study demonstrates that there have been major changes in the trends in pediatric ACLR over the past 15 years, and the most treatment variability is found among adolescent patients with about 2 years of growth remaining. The study also demonstrates that while the overall incidence of growth disturbance after ACLR remains low, new cases of growth disturbance continue to be identified.

Level of Evidence:

Level V—survey of expert opinion and experience.

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