Prevalence of Associated Lesions in Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Purpose:  To determine if there is a correlation between time to ACL reconstruction and the prevalence of meniscal tears or cartilage injuries present at surgery. Also, to identify the optimum timing of ACL surgery to decrease the risk of developing any additional injuries.


  • Knee instability that often occurs with an ACL rupture can lead to meniscal tears and cartilage injuries over time
  • A mix of 988 athletes and non-athletes underwent primary ACL reconstruction
  • At surgery, 611 patients (61.84%) had at least 1 meniscal or chondral injury due to the ACL rupture
  • The risk of developing a cartilage lesion increased by 0.6% for each month that surgery was delayed
  • At 12 months, the risk of developing a medial meniscus tear doubled while the risk of a lateral tear did not change
  • A longer “injury-to-surgery” period, male sex and higher BMI correlated with an increased prevalence of intra-articular lesion
  • Overweight and obese patients had a more than double risk of developing a meniscus or chondral lesion


Take Away: ACL reconstruction that occurs within 12 months of injury can significantly reduce the risk of associated meniscal tears and chondral lesions.

Authors: Lorenzo Brambilla, MD, Luca Pulici, MD, Giulia Carimati, MD, Alessandro Quaglia, MD, Emanuele Prospero, MD, Corrado Bait, MD, Emanuela Morenghi, PhD, Nicola Portinaro, MD, MScR, Matteo Denti, MD and Piero Volpi, MD

Published: "Prevalence of Associated Lesions in Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction". The American Journal of Sports Medicine..2015 Dec;43(12):2966-73.

Level of Evidence: III

Institution: Humanitas Research Hospital, Rozzano, Italy

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