Rates of Infection After ACL Reconstruction in Pediatric and Adolescent Patients: A MarketScan Database Study of 44,501 Patients

J Pediatr Orthop. 2022 Apr 1;42(4):e362-e366. doi: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000002080.


Background: Numerous studies have demonstrated an increase in the number of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction procedures performed in pediatric patients. Despite this, most knowledge of surgical site infection rates after these procedures are based on adult studies and data is currently limited in pediatric patients. The purpose of this study was to describe and analyze the rates of infection after ACL reconstruction among pediatric patients and adolescent patients (compared with young adult patients) utilizing the MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database.

Methods: The Truven Health Analytics MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database was assessed to access health care utilization data for privately insured individuals aged 5 to 30 years old. ACL reconstruction records performed between 2006 and 2018 were identified using Current Procedures Terminology (CPT) codes. International Classification of Diseases Ninth Revision (ICD-9), Tenth (ICD-10) codes and CPT codes were used to identify patients requiring treatment for infection. All patients had at least 180 days of insurance coverage after intervention.

Results: A total of 44,501 individuals aged below 18 years old and 63,495 individuals aged 18 to 30 years old that underwent arthroscopic ACL reconstruction were identified. There were no differences in infection rates between those below 18 years old (0.52%) and those above 18 years old (0.46%, P=0.227). However, among patients below 18 years old, patients below 15 years old had a significantly lower rate of infection at 0.37% compared with adolescents (15 to 17 y old) at 0.55% (P=0.039). Among young adults, males had higher rates of infection than females (0.52% vs. 0.37%), while no difference was observed in the pediatric and adolescent population (0.58% vs. 0.47%, P=0.109).

Conclusion: Utilizing an insurance database, this study demonstrated that rates of infection after ACL Reconstruction in a pediatric/adolescent population are low (0.52%) and similar to rates in young adults. Infection rates after ACLR reconstruction appear to be slightly lower in patients under 15 years of age (0.37%).

Level of evidence: Level III-Retrospective comparative study.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries* / epidemiology
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries* / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction* / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Wound Infection* / epidemiology
  • Young Adult