Early ACL surgery in kids would save money and prevent secondary injuries, study says

July 18, 2010, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

Nearly $30 million a year would be saved in hospital charges if early rather than delayed ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction surgery was performed on pediatric patients, according to a study presented today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Annual Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. Additionally, more than 7,300 tears to the meniscus and 7,800 cartilage tears in children could be avoided each year in the U.S. by early ACL surgery.

"The timing of pediatric and adolescent ACL surgery has historically been controversial," said Theodore J. Ganley, MD, Director of and Associate Professor at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "The theoretical risks of growth disturbance in younger patients are balanced against the risk of further knee damage related to delaying treatment until closer to skeletal maturity."

The goal of ACL knee surgery is to stabilize the knee allowing patients get back to a healthy, active lifestyle. Long-term, the surgery aims to prevent instability and additional damage to the knee.

A 14 year review of ACL reconstructions presented by the authors at the 2009 AOSSM Annual Meeting revealed a 4 to 11-fold increase in meniscal and cartilage injuries with a greater than 12 week delay in ACL treatment.

In the current study, a model for pediatric ACL reconstruction was developed based on probabilities derived from the ACL review. Identical groups of 100,000 patients, representative of the U.S. population were simulated to undergo either early or delayed ACL reconstruction, with the secondary meniscal and cartilage damage and hospital charges compared between the two groups.

"The decision tree and statistical modeling approach for the study created by my co-author Suneel Bhat, is unique in that it incorporates variability, thereby generating a of a large scale prospective study, which provides a way to generalize implications," said Dr. Ganley.

The simulation found that in females in the U.S., delaying ACL reconstruction beyond 12 weeks resulted in 1,560 medial meniscal tears and 2,100 cartilage tears relative to early surgery each year. In males, delayed surgery resulted in 3,300 medial meniscal tears and 5,720 cartilage tears relative to early surgery.

The study revealed that more than $29.4 million would be saved in hospital charges for pediatric patients each year in the U.S. by reconstructing ACL tears early rather than delaying treatment.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.