The outcome of operatively treated anterior cruciate ligament disruptions in the skeletally immature child

Arthroscopy. 1997 Oct;13(5):627-34. doi: 10.1016/s0749-8063(97)90191-2.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcome of transphyseal ligament reconstruction in skeletally immature children with midsubstance anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) disruption. Five consecutive patients (mean age, 12.9 years; range, 8 to 14 years) with radiographically documented "wide" open growth plates and a minimum of 5 cm of expected remaining growth, underwent intra-articular reconstruction of the ACL. Operative treatment included three ACL reconstructions using hamstring tendons and two with quadriceps patellar tendon. All involved a centrally placed 6-mm or smaller tibial drill hole through an open physis and graft placement in an over-the-top position on the femur. At an average follow-up of 7.4 years (range, 4.5 to 9.9 years), no patient had a positive anterior drawer, Lachman, or pivot shift test. On KT-1000 arthrometer testing, all patients had 3 mm or less of increased anterior-posterior displacement (mean +/- SD = 1.0 +/- 1.6 mm). Magnetic resonance imaging showed that four tibial physes had fused in a symmetric fashion and one was still open. Orthoroentgenograms showed that no patient had a significant leg length discrepancy (-0.8 mm +/- 3.4 mm). The mean increase in height postoperatively was 17.7 cm (range, 7.6 to 31.0 cm). Overall, using the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) evaluation form, there were four patients with grade A and one with grade C. The one patient with a poor IKDC grade had sustained a subsequent patellar dislocation with osteochondral fracture. In conclusion, ACL reconstruction using small drill holes placed through open tibial physes does not seem to adversely affect outcome or future growth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Child
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / diagnosis
  • Knee Injuries / epidemiology
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee Joint / pathology
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Radiography
  • Recurrence
  • Tibia / growth & development
  • Tibia / surgery
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing