We often hear about ACL injuries in adult athletes, but in an era when child athletics has become serious business, so has ACL reconstruction surgery in kids. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than 3.5 million kids under the age of 14 receive medical treatment for sports related injuries each year. So what is the impact of an ACL injury and most importantly what surgical intervention can children under the age of 14 receive to combat a potentially season-ending injury.
The Procedure: Adults vs. Children
For adults, many elect to have surgery and have a fairly predictable outcome. For children however, there is more to consider, one being their immature bone structure. In a standard ACL reconstruction procedure, it involves taking tissue from the knee and putting it into the knee through tunnels that are drilled in the tibia and femur. However, the growth plate tunnels you would normally use for adult patients, if used in children, can cause growth arrest in this part of the knee including uneven leg lengths.
Of course, parents along with their child can decide not to have surgery. The lack of or postponing of surgery can lead to problems ranging from knee buckling and giving way to secondary injuries, including meniscus tears and damage to the articular cartilage. Ultimately, it can lead to long-term damage involving bone deformities.
In young athletes, who are not done growing, the decision to proceed with ACL surgery can be a tricky one. One option is a non-anatomic reconstruction, where the graft is placed or rerouted to not cross the growth plates. The second option is an anatomic reconstruction, which involves drilling through the growth plates. The latest advancements now allow for minimal intrusion of the growth plates and provides for a more stable knee.
How To Decide If ACL Surgery Is Right For Your Child?
In weighing whether ACL surgery is right for your young athlete, the best advice is to talk to your child’s orthopedic surgeon. The Knee Surgery Center of Excellence, who provides ACL surgery in Beverly Hills, can help. The surgeon will consider:
– Your child’s age
– How much growth is remaining
– Risks and benefits of various treatment options
– Your child’s current and future sports goals
While it is true that no surgery is without risk, The Knee Surgery Center of Excellence uses the latest in imaging and technology to map out a surgical intervention that maximizes your child’s functional ability and health. By discussing your child’s options with one of our surgeons, you can make an informed decision on what is best for your child.
Speak With An Orthopedic Surgeon Today
The Knee Surgery Center of Excellence houses the top ACL surgeons in Beverly Hills. If you have specific questions about ACL tears or surgery in kids, please contact the Knee Surgery Center of Excellence or schedule an appointment.
To speak with an orthopedic surgeon at the Knee Surgery Center of Excellence today, please contact us by calling (888) 429-6865.