ACL injury and reconstruction: Does it really matter if you are male or female?

By Sharon L. Hame, MD

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction is one of the most commonly performed procedures in sports medicine. Young athletes—male and female—sustain ACL injury at alarming rates, but females seem to be at increased risk for injury, especially when they engage in activities that involve pivoting, cutting, and landing from a jump.

Because surgical treatment of ACL injury costs close to $1 billion a year, the orthopaedic community has understandably focused its efforts on the identification and reduction of ACL risk factors and on injury prevention, particularly in females. Yet despite the abundant research on ACL injury, little emphasis has been placed on gender differences in ACL reconstruction, including graft choice, graft position, fixation types, rehabilitation, outcome, and long-term results.

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