Revision Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Outcomes in Younger Patients: Medial Meniscal Pathology and High Rates of Return to Sport Are Associated With Third ACL Injuries Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND:There are limited data evaluating the outcomes of revision anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery in younger patients despite recent reports that the rates of graft rupture are higher in young cohorts. PURPOSE:To explore the outcomes of revision ACL reconstruction surgery in younger patients with the specific aims of determining the rates of third ACL injury and whether knee pathology at the time of revision surgery and return to sport were associated with further injury. STUDY DESIGN:Case-control study; Level of evidence, 3. METHODS:The study cohort consisted of 151 consecutive patients who were aged 25 years or younger at the time of their first revision ACL reconstruction. The number of subsequent ACL injuries (graft rerupture or contralateral injury to the native ACL) was determined at a mean follow-up time of 4.5 years (range, 2-9 years). Surgical details were recorded, along with a range of sport participation outcomes. Contingency tables were used to assess the associations between subsequent ACL injury and return to sport, knee pathology, and the drilling of new femoral or tibial tunnels at revision surgery. RESULTS:The follow-up rate was 85% (128/151). Graft reruptures occurred in 20 patients (16%) at a mean time of 2 years after revision surgery. Contralateral ACL injuries occurred in 15 patients (12%) at a mean time of 3.9 years. The total number of patients who had a third ACL injury was 35 (27%). There was a significant association between having medial meniscal pathology and sustaining a graft rerupture ( P = .03), but there was no association between graft rerupture and using the same tunnels from the primary procedure at revision surgery. After revision reconstruction, 68% of patients (95% CI, 55%-71%) returned to their preinjury level of sport, compared with 83% (95% CI, 69%-84%) after primary reconstruction in the same patients. Those who had a third ACL injury had a significantly higher rate of return to preinjury sport (83%) after the revision procedure than did the group that did not have further ACL injuries (62%, P = .02). CONCLUSION:Younger patients are at significant risk of having multiple ACL injuries. The high rate of third ACL injuries presents a significant issue for future knee health in these young athletes. Medial meniscal pathology and returning to high-risk sport are factors that are significantly associated with the high multiple ACL injury rate in the young.

publication date

  • 2018