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Contemporary Practice Patterns for the Treatment of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears in the United States.



There is a lack of research investigating current practice trends in the treatment of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears as well as common concomitant procedures and reoperations associated with ACL reconstruction (ACLR).


To analyze current practice patterns for ACLR as well as the frequency of concomitant and revision procedures with respect to patient characteristics in a cross-sectional population of the United States.

Study design

Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.


Patient data between 2010 and 2017 were queried using the Mariner PearlDiver database. International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (in 2010-2014) and Tenth Revision (ICD-10; in 2015-2017), diagnosis codes were used to identify ACL tears, and Current Procedural Terminology codes were used to identify ACLR and concomitant surgical procedures. Patient characteristics were stratified by sex and age. Cases of subsequent knee surgery and conversion to total knee arthroplasty (TKA) within 2 years after ACLR were tracked using ICD-10 codes between 2015 and 2017 to ensure ipsilateral laterality.


Of 229,295 patients identified with an ACL tear diagnosis during the study period, 75% underwent ACLR. In patients aged 10 to 39 years, 84% to 92% underwent ACLR, while patients aged 50 to 59 (50%) and 60 to 69 (28%) years were less likely to have surgery after an ACL tear. Female and male patients underwent ACLR at a similar rate (75%). Within the patients who underwent ACLR, 44% underwent concomitant meniscal debridement as compared with 11% with concomitant meniscal repair. Male patients were more likely to undergo meniscal debridement (48% vs 40%; P < .0001). The frequency of meniscal repair increased from 9% in 2010 to 14% in 2017, while the frequency of meniscal debridement decreased from 47% to 41% (P < .0001). Within 2 years of ACLR, 6% of patients underwent revision ACLR; 4%, subsequent meniscal debridement; 1%, meniscal repair; and 1%, conversion to TKA.


The frequency of ACLR for ACL tears has remained relatively stable in recent years and was similar between female and male patients in this cross-sectional population. The majority of patients aged 10 to 39 years underwent ACLR, while less than half of patients >50 years underwent surgery.

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