The aim of this paper was to provide a descriptive epidemiology of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions in Australia. Data on all ACL reconstructions were collected from July 1, 2003 till June 30, 2008. Main outcome measures were the incidence of ACL reconstructions for Australia, per age group, sex and sport, including estimates of direct costs. There were 50 187 ACL reconstructions over the 5-year period studied. The population-based incidence of ACL reconstructions per 100 000 person-years was 52.0 [95% confidence intervals (CI): 51.6; 52.5], higher than previously published incidences from other western countries (Scandinavia 32-38). The population incidence rose rapidly through adolescence and early adulthood and then gradually declined. Males had a higher population incidence than females. Skiing had the highest incidence of ACL reconstructions per 100 000 person-years, followed by Australian rules football, rugby, netball and soccer. The total estimated hospital costs associated with ACL reconstruction surgery were over A$75 million (€45 million) per year. Further research is necessary to examine the causes for the higher population incidence of ACL reconstructions in Australia compared with other countries. The establishment of a national register of ACL injuries, similar to those developed in Scandinavia should be considered.
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.