How Do Race and Insurance Status Affect the Care of Pediatric Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries?

Joshua T. Bram, Nakul S. Talathi, Neeraj M. Patel, Christopher J. DeFrancesco, Brendan M. Striano, Theodore J. Ganley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To identify associations between race or insurance status and preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative findings in a large cohort of pediatric anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING: Division of Orthopaedics at an urban tertiary care children's hospital. PATIENTS: 915 pediatric (<21) patients undergoing primary ACL reconstruction between January 2009 and May 2016. INDEPENDENT VARIABLES: Insurance status and race. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Delay to surgery, concurrent meniscal injury, sports clearance, postoperative complications, physical therapy, range of motion, and isokinetic strength reduction. RESULTS: Multivariate analysis revealed a significantly longer delay to surgery for black/Hispanic and publicly insured children compared to their counterparts (P = 0.02 and P = 0.001, respectively). Black/Hispanic patients were more likely to sustain irreparable meniscus tears resulting in meniscectomy than white/Asian patients (odds ratio 2.16, 95% confidence interval, 1.10-2.29, P = 0.01). Black/Hispanic and publicly insured children averaged fewer physical therapy (PT) visits (P < 0.001 for both). Nine months after surgery, black/Hispanic patients had significantly greater strength reduction than white/Asian patients. There were no differences in postoperative complications, including graft rupture, contralateral ACL injury, or new meniscus tear along the lines of race, although privately insured patients were more likely to suffer a graft rupture than publicly insured patients (P = 0.006). CONCLUSIONS: After ACL rupture, black/Hispanic children and publicly insured children experience a greater delay to surgery. Black/Hispanic patients have more irreparable meniscus tears and less PT visits. Black/Hispanic patients have greater residual hamstrings and quadriceps weakness 9 months after surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e201-e206
JournalClinical journal of sport medicine : official journal of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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