Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Skeletally Immature Patients: A Meta-analysis Comparing Repair Versus Reconstruction Techniques

Derrick M. Knapik, James E. Voos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background:Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery remains challenging in the skeletally immature patient. Despite the widespread use of physeal-sparing reconstruction techniques, there has been renewed interest in the ACL repair. The purpose of this study was to systematically review the literature to better understand outcomes following all-epiphyseal (AE) reconstruction to extraphyseal reconstruction, while also evaluating ACL repair outcomes in skeletally immature patients.Methods:Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, all studies in the literature from January 1970 to August 2019 reporting on skeletally immature patients undergoing ACL surgery were identified. Inclusion criteria were pediatric patients with open physes indicative of skeletal immaturity sustaining complete ACL ruptures treated with AE reconstruction, extraphyseal reconstruction or ACL repair. Chronologic age, bone age, postoperative outcomes scores, return to sport rate, and the incidence of complications, namely reruptures, were analyzed.Results:A total of 14 studies comprising 443 patients were identified. No significant difference in chronologic age or postoperative outcome scores at final follow-up were appreciated between patients undergoing AE versus extraphyseal reconstruction. Return to activity rate was significant greater following extraphyseal reconstruction when compared with AE reconstruction. The incidence of any limb-length discrepancies and limb discrepancies measuring ≥10 mm were significant higher following AE reconstruction, while rerupture rates were more common following AE reconstruction.Conclusions:Patients undergoing AE reconstruction possessed significantly lower return to activity rates, higher incidences of limb-length discrepancies and more commonly experienced ACL reruptures when compared with patients undergoing extraphyseal reconstruction. Further investigations analyzing results following ACL repair in skeletally immature patients are warranted to allow for the comparison of outcomes with current physeal-sparing reconstruction techniques.Level of Evidence:Level IV - systematic review-therapeutic study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-502
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • all-epiphyseal
  • anterior cruciate ligament
  • athlete
  • extraphyseal
  • reconstruction
  • repair
  • skeletally immature


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