Background: Management of anterior cruciate ligament injuries in skeletally immature patients is controversial. Conventional surgical reconstruction techniques for adults can cause iatrogenic growth disturbance due to physeal damage in children. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the results of a transphyseal reconstruction technique in pubescent but skeletally immature adolescents.
Methods: Between 1996 and 2004, sixty-one knees in fifty-nine skeletally immature pubescent adolescents (Tanner stage 3) with a mean chronological age of 14.7 years (range, 11.6 to 16.9 years) underwent transphyseal reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament with use of an autogenous quadrupled hamstrings-tendon graft and metaphyseal fixation. Thirty-one knees had additional meniscal surgery. The functional outcome, graft survival, radiographic outcome, and any growth disturbance were evaluated at a mean of 3.6 years (range, 2.0 to 10.2 years) after the surgery.
Results: Two patients (3%) underwent revision anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction because of graft failure at fourteen and twenty-one months postoperatively. For the remaining fifty-nine knees, the mean International Knee Documentation Committee subjective knee score (and standard deviation) was 89.5 ± 10.2 points and the mean Lysholm knee score was 91.2 ± 10.7 points. The result of the Lachman examination was normal in fifty-one knees and nearly normal in eight; it was not abnormal or severely abnormal in any knee. The result of the pivot-shift examination was normal in fifty-six knees and nearly normal in three knees; it also was not abnormal or severely abnormal in any knee. The mean increase in total height was 8.2 cm (range, 1.2 to 25.4 cm) from the time of surgery to the time of final follow-up. No angular deformities of the lower extremity were measured radiographically, and no lower-extremity length discrepancies were measured clinically. Complications included three cases of arthrofibrosis requiring manipulation with the patient under anesthesia.
Conclusions: Transphyseal reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament with use of an autogenous quadrupled hamstrings-tendon graft with metaphyseal fixation in skeletally immature pubescent adolescents provides an excellent functional outcome with a low revision rate and a minimal risk of growth disturbance.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.