Trends of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in children and young adolescents in Italy show a constant increase in the last 15 years

Umile Giuseppe Longo, Giuseppe Salvatore, Laura Ruzzini, Laura Risi Ambrogioni, Laura de Girolamo, Marco Viganò, Francesca Facchini, Eleonora Cella, Vincenzo Candela, Massimo Ciccozzi, Vincenzo Denaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: The aim of this 15-year nationwide study was to investigate the trend in ACL reconstructive surgeries in patients younger than 15 years old in Italy, as well as their social and economic impact.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The National Hospital Discharge records (SDO) collected by the Italian Ministry of Health in the 15-year period between 2001 and 2015 were analyzed. This contains anonymous data including patients' age, gender, ICD-9-CM codes for diagnosis and intervention, census region, region of hospitalization, length of the hospitalization, and public or private reimbursement.

RESULTS: 1,350 ACL reconstructions were performed in Italy in the population younger than 15 years old, with an incidence rate ranging from 0.16 to 2.04 procedures per 100,000 age-matched individuals. Similarly, the percentage of surgeries in 0-14 year old patients increased with respect to the total number of ACL reconstruction from 0.13% in 2001 to 0.95% in 2015. The age range 10-14 years is the most involved, accounting for 97.3% of surgeries recorded in the study period. The male:female ratio was 1.05 and most of these procedures were performed in the North of Italy (78.3%).

CONCLUSION: ACL reconstructions in patients aged 10-14 years are increasing constantly since 2001, and thus, specific actions aimed to define the best management strategy as well as national educational programs to prepare the future surgeons to this new reality are mandatory in the interest of the public health.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1728-1733
Number of pages6
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Adolescent
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries/surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction/statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Italy/epidemiology
  • Length of Stay/statistics & numerical data
  • Male


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