Delayed ACL Reconstruction in Kids May Lead to More Knee Injuries

Researchers presenting at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s Specialty Day in San Francisco reported that children treated more than 150 days after an ACL injury have higher rates of other knee injuries, including medial meniscal tears.

The study examined the medical records of 370 patients who underwent ACL reconstruction between January 2005 and January 2011 at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, according to a press release. Two hundred of the patients were under the age of 15 years, and the other 170 were older than 15 years. There were 208 males and 162 females, and the injuries occurred during a variety of athletic activities, including football, basketball, soccer and cheerleading/gymnastics.

“In our research, children who had delayed treatment of an ACL injury more than 150 days, tended to have an increased chance of also having a medial meniscus or chondral injury in their knee. These additional injuries may increase recovery time, inhibit return to play and worsen long-term functional outcomes of the knee,” Guillaume D. Dumont, MD, lead researcher from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, stated in the release. “This finding may also be relevant when counseling patients and their families regarding timing for injury treatment.”

The researchers also found that higher rates of injury were associated with weight and age. Patients older than 15 years had a higher rate of medial femoral chondral injury, and patients weighing more than 143 lbs had an increased rate of medial and lateral meniscal tears at the time of surgery.

“With recent significant increases in child and adolescent obesity rates, this finding may have significant public health implications,” senior author Philip Wilson, MD, stated in the release.

Neither gender nor sport were associated with an increased rate of injury.

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