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Current practice in the management of anterior cruciate ligament injuries in the United Kingdom


Objective: To outline the current practice in the management of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in the United Kingdom.

Methods: A postal questionnaire designed to include various clinical scenarios was sent out to the 321 orthopaedic surgeons in the United Kingdom who, being affiliated to one of the specialist societies of the British Orthopaedic Association, namely the British Association for Surgery of the Knee (BASK) or the British Orthopaedic Sports Trauma Association (BOSTA), have a manifested interest in treating such injuries.

Results: The response rate was 60% (192/321). Most surgeons diagnose and operate on less than 50 ACL injuries a year. The following results were obtained: 58% (76/132) use bone-patellar tendon-bone autografts, whereas 33% (44/132) use semitendinosis/gracilis autografts; 84% (108/129) would not incorporate the ACL remnant in the reconstruction; 14% (19/135) would perform an ACL reconstruction in an 8 year child with an acute rupture; 30% (42/141) would perform an ACL reconstruction in a 14 year old with an acute ACL rupture.

Conclusions: There is wide variation in the management of acute and chronic ACL injuries among orthopaedic surgeons in the British Isles. Future research and randomised controlled trials should address the issues that this investigation has raised.

  • ACL, anterior cruciate ligament
  • anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • injury
  • survey
  • postal questionnaire

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