Concomitant Posterolateral Corner Injuries in Skeletally Immature Patients With Acute Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries

Stuart D Kinsella, Sean M Rider, Matthew S Fury, Frances A Tepolt, Kirsten Ecklund, Mininder S Kocher
Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics 2020, 40 (6): 271-276

BACKGROUND: Missed posterolateral corner (PLC) injuries are a known cause of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL) failure in the adult population. Failed ACL reconstruction causes significant morbidity in the skeletally immature pediatric population. There is little literature on the character and potential significance of PLC injuries in skeletally immature patients.

METHODS: Magnetic resonance imaging studies of the knee at a tertiary care children's hospital for patients who underwent an ACL reconstruction without PLC surgery were retrospectively reviewed. Demographic variables were obtained through chart review, and magnetic resonance imaging studies were evaluated for PLC (popliteus, fibular collateral ligament, popliteofibular ligament, and arcuate ligament) injury, and ACL, medial collateral ligament (MCL), bone bruise, fracture, and meniscal pathology by an experienced pediatric musculoskeletal radiologist.

RESULTS: A total of 50 patients with a mean age at 13.3 years at injury were analyzed. PLC injuries were found in 26 patients (52%), with 7 patients (14%) having a complete tear of a component of the PLC. There was no association between sex (P=0.35), Segond fracture (P=0.09), meniscus injury (P=0.92), or MCL injury (P=0.24) with the risk of PLC injury. There was an association between patient age and PLC injury (P=0.02). For each additional year of age, the odds of PLC injury increased by 1.8 times (odds ratio, 1.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-2.2). There was no association between PLC injury and ACL graft failure (P=0.19).

CONCLUSIONS: Missed PLC injuries are a significant source of morbidity and poor clinical outcomes in the management of concomitant ACL injuries in adults. This study demonstrates the prevalence of PLC injuries in the setting of concomitant ACL injuries in the unique skeletally immature patient population. Incomplete PLC injuries are relatively common. Complete PLC injuries are relatively uncommon. PLC injury was more common in older patients. No other concomitant injury predicted the likelihood of PLC injury. Further research is needed regarding the risk of ACL reconstruction failure from associated PLC injury and the indications for PLC reconstruction in skeletally immature patients.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV-diagnostic study.

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