Practice patterns for combined anterior cruciate ligament and meniscal surgery in the United States

Volker Musahl, Susan S. Jordan, Alexis C. Colvin, Michael J. Tranovich, James J. Irrgang, Christopher D. Harner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of the study was to compare frequency of meniscal repair to partial meniscectomy in patients undergoing anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction using the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons (ABOS) database. Hypotheses: (1) Practice patterns are similar with respect to geographic region. (2) Surgeons with fellowship training perform more meniscal repairs compared with general orthopaedic practitioners. (3) Younger patients are more likely to be treated with meniscal repair at the time of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. (4) The frequency of meniscal repair in conjunction with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction has increased over time. Study Design: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: Information was extracted from the ABOS database from 2002 orthopaedic surgeons who sat for the part II examination from 2003 to 2007. The database was queried for all patients who underwent anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (Current Procedural Terminology [CPT] code 29888) without or with meniscectomy (CPT 29881) or meniscal repair (CPT 29882). Factors affecting meniscal surgery that were investigated included patient age, geographic region of practice, fellowship training, and declared subspecialty of the surgeon. Results: On average there were 52 000 cases per year registered in the ABOS database, approximately 1700 of whom underwent anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Meniscal repair was most frequently performed in the Southwest region (18.6%, P <.001) and least frequently in the Northwest region (11.3%, P <.001). Combined anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and meniscal repair was performed significantly more often by fellowship-trained surgeons (17%) than by surgeons with other fellowship training (12%) or no fellowship training (12%, P <.001) and in patients younger than age 25 years (19%) compared with those age 40 years and older (8%, P <.001). Meniscal repair was performed in 13.9% of anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions in 2003 and in 16.4% of anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions in 2007 (P >.05). Conclusion: Combined anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with meniscal repair was more frequent for younger patients and by surgeons with sports fellowship training. Concomitant meniscal repair is performed by fellowship-trained surgeons in this study in only 18% of anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)918-923
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • ABOS
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear
  • Fellowship training
  • Meniscal repair


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