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, 19 (1), 8-13

A Minimally Invasive Technique ("Healing Response") to Treat Proximal ACL Injuries in Skeletally Immature Athletes


A Minimally Invasive Technique ("Healing Response") to Treat Proximal ACL Injuries in Skeletally Immature Athletes

J Richard Steadman et al. J Knee Surg.


This study documents outcomes of athletically active, skeletally immature patients with proximal anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears treated with a non-reconstructive technique to promote healing ("healing response"). Between 1992 and 1998, 13 skeletally immature athletes with proximal ACL tears underwent a healing response procedure. Patients with previous ACL injury, other concurrent ligament pathology, and/or complete mid-substance ACL tears were excluded. Average preoperative KT-1000 arthrometer manual maximum difference for all patients was 5 mm (range: 3-10 mm). Preoperatively, all patients had a 1+ or 2+ pivot shift, and all patients reported knee function as abnormal or severely abnormal. Patients were followed prospectively with clinical examinations, KT-1000 testing, and subjective questionnaires. Three (23%) patients had a re-injury 30 to 55 months after the healing response and underwent subsequent ACL reconstruction. Subjective follow-up on the remaining 10 patients at an average of 69 months (range: 26-113 months) postoperatively indicated no patients experienced pain or giving way, and all considered their knee function normal. Average Lysholm score was 96, Tegner score was 8.5 (range: 7-10), and patient satisfaction at follow-up was 9.9 (1=very dissatisfied and 10=very satisfied). Clinical examination at least one year postoperatively was performed on 7 of 10 patients at 35 months (range: 12-63 months). Five patients had a negative pivot shift and 2 had a 1+ pivot shift. KT-1000 measurements improved to 2 mm (range: 0-3 mm). In the athletically active, skeletally immature patient, the healing response procedure can restore stability and knee function, with proper patient selection. In this study group, patients were very satisfied with the procedure and returned to a high level of sports and activities.

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