Revision ACL Reconstruction in Adolescent Patients

Orthop J Sports Med. 2020 Sep 29;8(9):2325967120953337. doi: 10.1177/2325967120953337. eCollection 2020 Sep.


Background: High failure rates have been documented after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) in pediatric patients, and revision surgery is indicated due to high activity levels of children and adolescents.

Purpose: To define trends in revision ACLR in patients who underwent initial ACLR at younger than 18 years.

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

Methods: An electronic medical record was used to retrospectively identify revision ACLR procedures performed by 2 surgeons between the years 2010 and 2016 in patients younger than 18 years at initial reconstruction. Descriptive information, intraoperative findings, surgical techniques, and rehabilitation data were recorded from initial and revision surgeries. Descriptive statistics were used.

Results: A total of 32 patients (17 girls, 15 boys) met the inclusion criteria, with a mean age of 15.8 years at initial reconstruction. For initial reconstructions, 15 patients underwent transphyseal procedures, 3 patients underwent adult-type procedures using an anatomic reconstruction technique that did not take into account the physis, and 2 patients underwent partial intraepiphyseal procedures. Graft types included hamstring autograft (n = 17), allograft (n = 5), hybrid (n = 4), and bone-patellar tendon-bone autograft (BTB; n = 3). Average primary reconstruction graft diameter was 8.0 mm (girls, 7.72 mm; boys, 8.36 mm; P = .045). After initial reconstruction, 10 patients had postoperative protocol noncompliance, and 8 patients reported delayed recovery. Mean time to retear was 565 days (range, 25-1539 days). At revision, BTB autograft was used in 50% (n = 16), followed by hamstring autograph (31.3%; n = 10) and allograft (12.5%; n = 4); mean graft diameter was 9.05 mm. Chondral surgery was more common during revision (25% for revision vs 0% for index; P = .031). There were 4 patients who required staged reconstruction with bone grafting. At mean final follow-up of 29.5 months (SD, 22.2 months), there were 3 graft failures (9.4%) and 5 contralateral ACL ruptures (15.6%).

Conclusion: Most patients with ACL graft failure were adequately treated with a single revision. Conversion from a soft tissue graft to a BTB autograft was the most common procedure. Infrequently, patients required staged reconstructions. Providers should have a high index of suspicion for associated intra-articular injuries resulting from graft failure in adolescent patients.

Keywords: ACL; allografts; knee ligament; pediatric sports medicine.