ACL Reconstruction in Patients Over 50!

According to the results of a study published in the November issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery—British, reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in carefully selected patients aged 50 years or over can achieve results similar to those in younger patients, with no increased risk of complications. The research team reviewed the records of 34 patients aged 50 years or over who underwent primary ACL reconstruction (35 knees) between 1990 and 2002. Overall, 23 knees were reconstructed with patellar tendon allograft, and 12 with patellar tendon autograft. The authors noted postsurgery improvements in mean knee extension and flexion, Lachman grade, International Knee Documentation Committee scores, and Lysholm scores. Three graft failures (8.6 percent) required revision.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction In The Over 50s

03 Nov 2008

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, British Volume today publishes ground breaking research on the new use of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in patients over 50 years old. The authors reviewed 34 patients over 50 who had received the treatment between 1990 and 2002 and conclude that ‘reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament in carefully-selected patients aged 50 years or over can achieve similar results to those in younger patients’.

ACL reconstruction is normally only carried out on 18 to 30 year old patients who lead active lifestyles, whereas older patients frequently receive non-operative treatments such as modification of their lifestyles, bracing and physiotherapy. However, recent studies have suggested that these treatments result in a high rate of re-injury when patients return to moderate activity levels.

One of the reasons this surgery has not been performed on patients over the age of 50 may be anxiety about potential complications, however the study disputes this by showing that only two of the 34 patients required revision. Therefore, the authors conclude that while the sample may be small it is likely that ‘the clinical and functional results of ACL reconstruction in patients aged 50 and over are similar to those in younger patients with no increased risk of complications’.


The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery – British Volume is a world leading orthopaedics journal with an Impact Factor of 1.868. JBJS-Br publishes twelve issues a year of high-quality, peer-reviewed research, overseen by an international editorial board led by Editor James Scott.

The Journal was first published in 1948 by The British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery, a registered charity (No. 209299), with the object of the advancement and improvement of education in orthopaedic surgery and allied branches of surgery and the diffusion of knowledge of new and improved methods of teaching and practicing orthopaedic surgery in all its branches. You can find out more about The Journal at

Becky Hall
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, British Volume

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