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Teenagers and ACL: Tears common and additional surgery likely
Date:10/2/2009

ROSEMONT, Ill Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are one of the most common injuries to the knee. Each year thousands of patients undergo reconstructive surgery to repair these injuries. According to a new study published in the October 2009 issue of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS), the number of patients undergoing ACL reconstruction is increasing substantially and women and younger patients are more likely to need subsequent knee surgery following the initial repair.

The investigators analyzed surgical outcomes in the largest number of patients ever included in a study of ACL surgery and among their key findings was that patients younger than 20 years old, who had an ACL reconstructive surgery, had an 82 percent increased risk for additional ACL surgery.

"We found that patients younger than age 40 and female patients are both more likely to have subsequent knee surgery after ACL reconstruction," said study author Stephen Lyman, PhD, Director of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

The study found that the younger the patient is at the time of the procedure, the more likely they are to need additional ACL surgery within one year after having their initial ACL reconstruction. Researchers observed the following trends:

  • Patients 30 to 39 years old had a 19 percent increased risk for additional ACL surgery; and
  • Patients 20 to 29 years old had a 43 percent increased risk for additional ACL surgery.

"We believe that younger patients may be at a higher risk for additional ACL surgery because they tend to be more active and this can lead to graft rupture," explains Dr. Lyman. He also says younger patients may be less likely to adhere to rehabilitation restrictions when it comes to high-impact activity.

Study authors looked at more than 70,000 patients who had ACL reconstruction surgery from 1997 to 2006 in the s
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Contact: Kristina K. Findlay
findlay@aaos.org
847-384-4034
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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