Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Children: Delay in Surgery Can Lead to Permanent Damage

 
on March 15 2012 12:33 PM

It's a part of childhood that children fall down while playing and get their knees injured or swollen. While you pay attention to the injuries, at times it is likely that you may not pay the required attention to the swelling on your kid's knee. But chances are there that the swelling can be related to an internal injury of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) located in the knee.

A delay in undertaking an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstructive surgery in children aged 14 and below can intensify the problem and lead to more serious injuries, says a new study conducted by the a team of pediatric orthopaedic surgeons.

Also, a late surgery can result in some permanent damage like Medial Meniscus Tears. The medial meniscus has a key role in protecting the knee against arthritis and a torn medial meniscus will affect the knee and will lead to arthritis.

The findings of the research team, led by Dr. J. Todd Lawrence, an orthopedic surgeon at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, were published by The American Journal of Sports Medicine recently.

Treating ACL injuries in these children is controversial, because they are still growing and the surgery has a small risk of causing a growth disturbance, said Dr. Lawrence.

However, we found that the risk of additional injury outweighs the risk of growth disturbance in most children.

The number of Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury cases among children has been very high recently due to their active participation in sports like football, skiing, lacrosse and hockey. There is always a high risk for ACL injuries in these knee related games.

Looking forward for each patient we still think about onset of arthritis within the next 20 years in the affected knee of young children with a complete tear of their ACL, said Theodore J. Ganley, the senior author of the study.

The study analyzed 70 patients aged 14 or below with ACL injuries at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia between 1995 and 2005.

About 29 percent of the patients who underwent a reconstructive surgery 12 weeks after their wound were found more likely to be affected with irreparable damages like medial meniscus tears and full thickness cartilage injuries.

The awareness about the availability of surgery for the treatment of growth plates in the knee needs to be spread.

Share this article