The ESSKA paediatric anterior cruciate ligament monitoring initiative.
- Sports Medicine Research Laboratory
PURPOSE: To survey and describe the treatment of paediatric anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries performed by orthopaedic surgeons affiliated with the European Society for Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery and Arthroscopy (ESSKA). METHODS: A closed e-survey was submitted to all registered members and affiliates of ESSKA in July 2013. All recipients were invited to participate in the survey by answering 34 questions online. The list of potential respondents was extracted from the ESSKA office database. RESULTS: Invitation was sent to 2236 ESSKA members and affiliates, and received 491 (22%) unique responses. Among the respondents, 445 (91%) were orthopaedic surgeons, with 354 (72%) stating that they were involved in treatment of paediatric ACL injuries. The main findings were that there are substantial differences with regard to preferred treatment algorithms, surgical techniques and long-term follow-up procedures. The summed estimate of skeletally immature children with ACL injury seen by the responders in 2012 was minimum 1923 individuals, and a minimum of 102 clinically relevant post-operative growth disturbances were registered. CONCLUSION: The present survey documents that the incidences of paediatric ACL injuries and idiopathic growth disturbances may be higher than previously estimated. Treatment algorithms and surgical techniques are highly diverse, and consensus could not be identified. It is worrying that only half the surgeons reported to follow-up children until skeletal maturity after surgical treatment. The results of this survey highlight the importance of international multicentre studies on paediatric ACL treatment and the development of an outcome registry to enable prospective data collections. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: IV.