Same knee, different goals: patients and surgeons have different priorities related to ACL reconstruction Journal Articles uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: The priorities of patients should be shared by those treating them. Patients and surgeons are likely to have different priorities surrounding anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR), with implications for shared decision-making and patient education. The optimal surgical approach for ACLR is constantly evolving, and the magnitude of treatment effect necessary for evidence to change surgical practice is unknown. The aim of this study was to determine (1) the priorities of surgeons and patients when making decisions regarding ACLR and (2) the magnitude of reduction in ACLR graft failure risk that orthopaedic surgeons require before changing practice. METHODS: This study followed a cross-sectional survey design. Three distinct electronic surveys were administered to pre-operative ACLR patients, post-operative ACLR patients, and orthopaedic surgeons. Patients and surgeons were asked about the importance of various outcomes and considerations pertaining to ACLR. Surgeons were asked scenario-based questions regarding changing practice for ACLR based on new research. RESULTS: Surgeons were more likely to prioritize outcomes related to the surgical knee itself, whereas patients were more likely to prioritize outcomes related to their daily lifestyle and activities. Knee instability and risk of re-injury were unanimous top priorities among all three groups. A mean relative risk reduction in ACLR graft failure of about 50% was required by orthopaedic surgeons to change practice regardless of the type of change, or patient risk profile. CONCLUSION: There are discrepancies between the priorities of surgeons and patients, and orthopaedic surgeons appear resistant to changing practice for ACLR. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: IV.


  • Marmura, Hana
  • Bryant, Dianne
  • Birmingham, Trevor B
  • Kothari, Anita
  • Spindler, Kurt P
  • Kaeding, Christopher C
  • Spalding, Tim
  • Getgood, Alan MJ

publication date

  • December 2021