Women under the age of 25 who have undergone surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are still at risk for a recurrent ACL tear. The study included over 500 male and female athletes who underwent surgery for a torn ACL. The average age was 27 years. Participants were allowed to return back to physical activity six to 12 months after surgery if they no longer were experiencing pain and finished their rehabilitation program.
Lead author Dr. Duong Nguyen said, “Our research noted that female patients under the age of 25 with a [smaller] graft size of less than eight millimeters have an increased chance of re-tearing their ACL following reconstruction.”
Factors that could contribute to a repeat injury in females include changing estrogen levels, anatomical differences, and decreased knee strength.
Nguyen continued, “Given the results of our study, we feel that surgeons should counsel their younger, female patients accordingly and consider modifying their surgical techniques to utilize larger size grafts and/or rehabilitation strategies to lessen the chance of a re-tear.”