A Realistic View: Return to Sport and Patient Satisfaction following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction in the Practice of a Community Subspecialist

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Marshall Siemens


Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, patient satisfaction, return to sport, return to work.


Background: There are varying conclusions in the literature on the utility and success of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction (ACLR). There are also many different tools used to define success. In this study, we implemented phone surveys with patients who had undergone primary autograft ACLR. We used the Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation (SANE) rating and patient centered questions regarding return to work and play in the hope of providing physicians with results that will help them better communicate with patients about what the expected outcome will, or can be.
Methods: 187 patients out of the senior authors subspecialist clinic were identified to be at least 1-year post operation of receiving ACLR. Contact was made with eligible patients in June/July of 2016. After consent was granted, a series of seven questions were asked to determine satisfaction with the surgery, ability to return to work and sport and the ability to return at pre injury capabilities.
Results: We found a subjectively high rate of satisfaction of 87.5% as it pertains to work or daily activities and 79.1% as it pertains to sport or recreational activities. An impressive 95.2% of patients stated they were glad they had the surgery done. Interestingly, these positive results are despite the disappointing but not unexpected 49.0% that were able to return to pre-injury level of sport, and 78.8% that were able to return to their pre-injury level of work.
Conclusion: We have shown that the majority of patients are satisfied with the end result in terms of their ability to work and play. This is despite many not being able to function at a level equal to their pre-injury baseline. It is our hope that the information provided within this work will give sport and musculoskeletal providers helpful material with which to counsel their ACL deficient patients on expected outcomes.