Key Prognostic Info for Your ACL Patients

A remarkable 3+ decade prospective observational study answers questions your patients are asking

What’s the Claim?

A genuinely prospective study with 35-year follow-up provides some prognostic tidbits your patients are likely to appreciate:

  • Having ACL surgery does not change the long-term prognosis in terms of pain, function, or quality of life compared to nonoperative management
    • It neither seems to increase nor to decrease the likelihood of developing symptomatic osteoarthritis compared to rehabilitation alone in patients who opt out of surgery
  • Between 20 and 35 years after ACL injury (again, with or without surgical treatment, as those groups did not differ), mean scores for pain/function and quality of life scores declined modestly but by a clinically important amount
  • Between 20 and 35 years after ACL injury (with or without surgery for it), the mean quality of life score (KOOS-QoL) was below the “patient acceptable symptom state,” suggesting that the average patient post-ACL injury is living at age 56 ± 4 years with a fair amount of knee-related disability and bother

Let’s get into what all this means and how to use it.

How’s It Stack Up?