Do Tibial Eminence Fractures and Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears Have Similar Outcomes?

Heath P. Melugin, Vishal S. Desai, Christopher L. Camp, Todd A. Milbrandt, Diane L. Dahm, Bruce A. Levy, Michael J. Stuart, Aaron J. Krych

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Avulsion fractures involving the tibial eminence are considered equivalent in terms of the cause to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears; however, there are limited data comparing the outcomes of adolescent patients undergoing surgical fixation of a tibial eminence fracture (TEF) with those undergoing ACL reconstruction. Purpose: To compare the clinical outcomes, subsequent ACL injury rates, and activity levels between adolescent patients who underwent TEF fixation with patients with midsubstance ACL tears who required acute reconstruction. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: This study included a group of patients with TEFs treated with surgical fixation matched to a group of similar patients with ACL tears treated with reconstruction between the years 2001 and 2015. Data regarding the initial injury, surgical intervention, ACL/ACL graft injury rates, and physical examination findings were recorded. Clinical and functional outcomes were obtained using a physical examination, the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) subjective score, the Lysholm score, and the Tegner activity score. Results: Sixty patients with a mean follow-up of 57.7 months (range, 24-206 months) were included; 20 patients (11 male, 9 female; mean age, 11.9 years [range, 7-15 years]) who underwent surgical fixation for a TEF were matched to a group of 40 patients (23 male, 17 female; mean age, 12.5 years [range, 8-5 years]) who underwent reconstruction for ACL tears. The TEF group demonstrated significantly lower postoperative IKDC scores (TEF group, 94.0; ACL group, 97.2; P =.04) and Lysholm scores (TEF group, 92.4; ACL group, 96.9; P =.02). The TEF group returned to sport 119 days sooner (P <.01), but there was no difference in postoperative Tegner scores (TEF group, 7.3; ACL group, 7.6; P =.16). The TEF group demonstrated increased postoperative anterior laxity (P =.02) and a higher rate of postoperative arthrofibrosis (P =.04). There was no difference in subsequent ACL injuries (P =.41). Conclusion: Both groups demonstrated quality outcomes at a minimum 2-year follow-up. Patients with TEFs demonstrated lower mean clinical outcome scores compared with patients with ACL tears, but the differences were less than reported minimal clinically important difference values. Additionally, the TEF group experienced more postoperative anterior laxity and had a higher rate of postoperative arthrofibrosis. There was no difference in the rate of subsequent ACL injuries. The TEF group returned to sport sooner than the ACL group, but the postoperative activity levels were similar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • ACL avulsion
  • ACL reconstruction
  • ACL tear
  • pediatric ACL
  • tibial eminence fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Do Tibial Eminence Fractures and Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears Have Similar Outcomes?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this