Young patients who wait for Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery could be at increased risk for secondary knee injuries, according to a research presented at the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine’s (AOSSM) Annual Meeting.
This study adds to existing research noting the risk of secondary meniscal and chondral injuries in pediatric patients.
“In reviewing records of young patients who received ACL reconstructions, our data showed higher rates and severity of secondary meniscus injuries when surgery is delayed,” noted lead author Allen F. Anderson, MD, from the Tennessee Orthopedic Alliance in Nashville, Tennessee. “Patients who had surgery 6-12 weeks after ACL injury had 1.45 greater odds of lateral meniscus injury, and those waiting 3+ months increased their risk 2.82 times. The risk for medial meniscal tears was 4.3 times greater when delaying surgery at least 6 weeks.”
For this research, researchers analyzed the records of 130 patients between ages 8 and 16 who had an ACL reconstruction. They were divided into three groups based on timing. During the research, 62 patients were treated less than 6 weeks after injury, 37 were treated 6-12 weeks after, and 36 were treated more than 3 months after. The surgeries occurred between 2000 and 2012, and the majority of patients (64%) were male.
“While parents and other caregivers have obvious reasons for concern over ACL surgery in young patients, it’s important to recognize when it may be beneficial,” commented Anderson. “If surgery now helps eliminate long-term knee problems, it’s certainly a good choice.”