Prevalence and Incidence of New Meniscus and Cartilage Injuries After a Nonoperative Treatment Algorithm for ACL Tears in Skeletally Immature Children A Prospective MRI Study
BACKGROUND:The increased risk of long-term osteoarthritis from concomitant injuries to the menisci or cartilage after an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in adults is well established. In skeletally immature children, ACL reconstruction is often recommended to reduce the risk of new intra-articular injuries. However, the prevalence and incidence of new injuries after nonoperative treatment of ACL injuries in children are unknown. PURPOSE:To prospectively investigate the incidence of new injuries to the menisci and joint cartilage in nonoperatively treated, skeletally immature children with a known ACL injury by use of bilateral 3.0-T MRI. STUDY DESIGN:Case series; Level of evidence, 4. METHODS:Forty skeletally immature children with a ruptured ACL (41 knees) followed a nonoperative treatment algorithm and were evaluated with bilateral 3.0-T MRI on 2 occasions (MRI1 and MRI2). The intra-articular structures were analyzed by 2 independent MRI radiologists. Monitoring of participation in physical activities was accomplished through a monthly online activity survey. Descriptive statistics and frequencies were extracted from the scoring forms and compared using the Fisher exact test. RESULTS:Fourteen girls (35%) and 26 boys (65%) with a mean age of 11.0 ± 1.4 years at the time of injury were included. Time from injury to the final follow-up was 3.8 ± 1.4 years. Eighty-eight percent of the ACL-deficient children confirmed monthly participation in pivoting sports and/or in physical education classes in school. The prevalence of meniscus injuries in the 28 nonreconstructed knees was 28.5% at MRI1 and MRI2, and the incidence of new meniscus and cartilage injuries in the nonreconstructed knees from MRI1 to MRI2 was 3.6%. Thirteen children underwent ACL reconstruction, with a prevalence of meniscus procedures of 46.2%. The incidence of new meniscus injuries from diagnostic MRI to final follow-up was 19.5%. Surgical treatments for meniscus injuries were performed in 8 of the 41 knees. CONCLUSION:The incidence of new injuries to menisci and joint cartilage was low between MRI1 and MRI2 in the 28 nonreconstructed knees. Thirty-two percent of the knees required ACL reconstruction, and 19.5% required meniscus surgeries during the 3.8 ± 1.4 years of follow-up from injury. Further follow-up is needed to evaluate the long-term knee health in these children.
Available from: Romain Seil
- "Full list of author information is available at the end of the article On the one hand, nonoperative treatment has shown to be successful in some patients (Woods and O'Connor 2004; Moksnes et al. 2013), but the reasons for this are poorly understood (Funahashi et al. 2014). Furthermore, a strong association between the delay of surgery and the occurrence of meniscus and cartilage lesions strongly suggests that a nonoperative treatment may be detrimental to the intra-articular soft tissues. "
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To review surgical and animal experimental studies performed with open growth plates in relation with pediatric anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction.
When it comes to the treatment of ACL injured children, there is a lack of current international guidelines, leaving the treating physicians with a therapeutic dilemma. A variety of surgical and animal experimental studies have been undertaken over the last decades in relation with open growth plates and ACL-reconstruction.
Based on our own previous animal experimental data, we highlighted 15 specific points concerning pediatric ACL-reconstruction and reviewed additional literature concerning these individual items.
Pediatric ACL-reconstruction could be proven to be safe in animal models. Growth abnormalities, risk factors and factors, which were specifically related to biological healing processes in children, were identified. From them surgical principles for safe pediatric ACL replacements can be deducted. Applying these principles through a correct technical execution of surgery may prevent clinically significant growth changes.
Over the last 2 decades it has been shown that a technically correct pediatric ACL reconstruction has little risk in creating clinically significant growth abnormalities. Animal experiments support this hypothesis despite the fact that the gained knowledge cannot be fully generalized to humans. More long time follow-up is needed to fully understand the complete risk factors related to ACL surgery with open growth plates.
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The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40634-015-0027-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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ABSTRACT: In contrast to the treatment of avulsion lesions of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) the management of intrasubstance ACL tears in the skeletally immature patient remains controversial. Prospective studies could show that conservative treatment results in severe instability with concomitant intraarticular damage and poor function of the knee. Reconstruction of a torn ACL always carries the risk of damaging the open growth plates; with consecutively affecting the longitudinal or axial growth of the lower extremity either on the femoral or the tibial side. Thus, several surgical procedures are available to prevent adverse events mentioned above. The purpose of this study is to review the recent literature regarding the treatment algorithm for ACL injuries in skeletally immature patients. This review will (1) investigate the indications for ACL surgery in children; (2) determine if a surgical procedure is clinically superior in skeletally immature patients; and (3) correlate the adverse events with the surgical technique.
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