Revision ACL reconstruction in skeletally mature athletes younger than 18 years

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2012 Mar;470(3):835-42. doi: 10.1007/s11999-011-1956-1.


Background: Young, active, skeletally mature patients have higher failure rates after various surgical procedures, including stabilization for shoulder instability and primary ACL reconstruction. It is unclear whether young, active, skeletally mature patients share similarly high failure rates after revision ACL reconstruction.

Questions/purposes: We therefore determined whether revision ACL reconstruction restores knee stability and allows young (younger than 18 years), active, skeletally mature patients to return to preinjury activity levels.

Patients and methods: We retrospectively identified 36 patients who had an initial ACL reconstruction between the ages of 12 and 17 years (mean, 15.4 years) and subsequent revision between the ages of 13 and 18 years (mean, 16.9 years); of these, 2-year followup was available for 21 (75%). Mechanisms of primary graft failure included traumatic rerupture (23 noncontact, seven contact), persistent instability (five), and infection (one). One patient had open physes at the time of revision. All revisions were single-stage transosseous reconstructions. The minimum followup was 24 months (mean, 36 months; range, 24-63 months).

Results: At last followup, 19 of 21 patients had a negative or IA Lachman and 20 of 21 had a negative pivot shift. Mean International Knee Documentation Committee subjective score was 89 (range, 64-99). Eleven of the 21 patients returned to the same or higher activity/sport level as before their original injury. Two patients reported subjective knee instability, with two having repeat revision reconstruction for failure.

Conclusions: Single-stage transosseous revision ACL reconstruction in young, active, skeletally mature patients restores knee stability but returns only 52% of patients to their prior level of activity or sport.

Level of evidence: Level IV, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction / methods*
  • Arthroscopy
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery
  • Bone-Patellar Tendon-Bone Grafting*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / diagnostic imaging
  • Joint Instability / surgery
  • Knee Injuries / surgery
  • Male
  • Radiography
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Reoperation
  • Young Adult