Outcome of anatomic transphyseal anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in Tanner stage 1 and 2 patients with open physes

Am J Sports Med. 2012 May;40(5):1093-8. doi: 10.1177/0363546512438508. Epub 2012 Mar 5.


Background: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are being seen with increasing frequency in children. Treatment of the ACL-deficient knee in skeletally immature patients is controversial.

Purpose: To determine the outcome of all-arthroscopic transphyseal anatomic single-bundle ACL reconstruction in Tanner stage 1 and 2 patients at a minimum of 2 years after surgery.

Study design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: Between 2007 and 2008, 16 prepubescent patients underwent ACL reconstruction using soft tissue grafts. All patients were Tanner stage 1 and 2. Outcomes were assessed at a minimum of 2 years after surgery and included limb alignment, limb length, instrumented testing with the KT-1000 arthrometer, and International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) score.

Results: Mean age at the time of surgery was 12 years (range, 8-14 years). Graft choices included the following: living donor-related hamstring tendon allograft (n = 14), hamstring tendon autograft (n = 1), and fresh-frozen allograft (n = 1). Mean IKDC subjective score was 96 (range, 84-100). All patients had a stable knee postoperatively. Eleven patients had a negative Lachman test result, and 14 had a negative pivot-shift test result. The remainder had grade 1 Lachman and pivot-shift test findings, respectively. At 2 years after surgery, all patients had returned to strenuous activities, and normal or nearly normal overall IKDC score was documented in 94% of patients. There were no cases of limb malalignment or growth arrest.

Conclusion: We present a case series of transphyseal anatomic single-bundle ACL reconstruction in Tanner stage 1 and 2 patients at a minimum of 2 years after surgery. Excellent clinical outcomes were obtained with high levels of return to desired activities. Importantly, no growth disturbances were seen in this series of patients.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction / methods*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction / rehabilitation
  • Arthroscopy
  • Athletic Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Female
  • Femur / growth & development
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / etiology
  • Knee Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Male
  • Recovery of Function
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tendons / transplantation
  • Treatment Outcome