DOI: 10.1097/bpo.0000000000002567 ISSN: 0271-6798

Improved Patient-reported Outcomes in Patients Aged 16 and Younger at Two Years After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Despite Relatively High Rates of Reinjury and Repeat Surgery

Stephen A. Doxey, Rebekah M. Kleinsmith, Fernando A. Huyke-Hernández, Adam Schweitzer, Arthur J. Only, Marc Tompkins, Christopher Y. Kweon, Brian P. Cunningham
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • General Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health


Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) in adolescent patients, particularly those aged 16 and under, are increasingly common procedure that lacks robust clinical and patient-reported outcome (PRO) data. The purpose of this study was to report 2-year PROs of patients receiving ACLR aged 16 or younger using the single assessment numerical evaluation (SANE) and knee injury and osteoarthritis outcome score (KOOS). Secondary aims included characterizing treatment characteristics, return to sport (RTS), and clinical outcomes.


The institutional PRO database was queried for patients receiving ACLR from 2009 to 2020. Patients aged older than 16, revision procedures, concomitant ligament repairs/reconstructions, and patients without full outcome data at 2 years were excluded. Outcomes over 2 years after ACLR included SANE, KOOS, reinjuries, reoperations, and time to RTS.


A total of 98 patients were included with an average age of 15.0 years. Most patients were females (77.6%). Bone-tendon-bone autograft (69.4%) was the most used. Average RTS was 8.7 months (range: 4.8 to 24.0 mo), with 90% of patients eventually returning to sport. A total of 23 patients (23.5%) experienced a reinjury and 24.5% (n = 24) underwent reoperation. Timing to RTS was not associated with reinjury, but patients who returned between 9.5 and 13.7 months did not sustain reinjuries. Mean KOOS and SANE scores at 2 years were 87.1 and 89.1, respectively, with an average improvement of +18.4 and +22.9, respectively. Change in KOOS was negatively impacted by reinjury to the anterior cruciate ligament graft and reoperation (anterior cruciate ligament failure: +10.0 vs 19.3, P = 0.081, respectively; reoperation: +13.2 vs +20.1, P = 0.051, respectively), though these did not reach statistical significance.


Patients experienced improved SANE and KOOS scores after ACLR. Rates of reinjury and reoperation were relatively high and negatively impacted PRO scores but were not associated with the timing of RTS. Adolescent patients should be counseled regarding the risk of subsequent ipsilateral and contralateral knee injury after ACLR.

Level of Evidence:

Level IV—case series.

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