Conservative management of anterior cruciate ligament injury in paediatric population: About 53 patients

the French Arthroscopic Society

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Introduction: The last symposium held by the French Arthroscopy Society was on anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction on children. The first aim of this study was to analyse the tolerance of conservative management of ACL rupture in children. We also tried to find predictive factors of ACL reconstruction. Material and methods: We conducted an observational, retrospective study in an academic department of paediatric orthopaedic surgery. All patients under the age of eighteen, who were treated conservatively for an acute intra-ligamentous ACL rupture confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) between 2007 and 2017, were included. Two groups were analysed: operated patients and conservative treatment. We also analysed population according Tanner stage. Results: Fifty-three patients were included in this study. The median length of follow-up was 31.5 months [interquartile range (IQR): 22.3–49.3]. The median age at the last follow-up was 14.4 years [IQR: 12.6–15.5]. All patients were allowed to practice activities without restrictions, including pivoting sports. Tegner activity level scale remains identical before injury and at last follow-up (p: n.s.). Nineteen patients (36%) described knee instability at last follow-up. On the last MRI, 9 (17%) patients had meniscal tears but only one patient (2%) needed a menisectomy. Twenty-one patients (40%) underwent ACL reconstruction. The 4-years successful conservative treatment rate was 92% (95% CI: 85–98%). Clinical instability at first examination was the only significant predictive factors of bad tolerance of conservative management (p = 0.047). Discussion: Conservative management of ACL rupture in paediatric population is a valuable treatment which permits return to a normal life with sports activities without major increasing of meniscal tears. The rehabilitation protocol must restore full knee stability to permit a successful conservative treatment. We must study the impact of pubertal status on larger group. Level of evidence: IV, retrospective study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S10
JournalRevue de Chirurgie Orthopedique et Traumatologique
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • ACL injury
  • Children
  • Conservative management
  • Knee


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