Variability in Pain Management Practices for Pediatric Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction


Background: The opioid epidemic in the United States is a public health crisis. Pediatric orthopaedic surgeons must balance adequate pain management with minimizing the risk of opioid misuse or dependence. There is limited data available to guide pain management for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) in the pediatric population. The purpose of this study was to survey current pain management practices for ACLR among pediatric orthopaedic surgeons.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey study was conducted, in which orthopaedic surgeons were asked about their pain management practices for pediatric ACLR. The voluntary survey was sent to members of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America. Inclusion criteria required that the surgeon perform anterior cruciate ligament repair or reconstruction on patients under age 18. Responses were anonymous and consisted of surgeon demographics, training, practice, and pain management strategies. Survey data were assessed using descriptive statistics.

Results: Of 64 included responses, the average age of the survey respondent was 48.9 years, 84.4% were males, and 31.3% practiced in the southern region of the United States. Preoperative analgesia was utilized by 39.1%, 90.6% utilized perioperative blocks, and 89.1% prescribed opioid medication postoperatively. For scheduled non-narcotic medications postoperatively 82.8% routinely advocated and 93.8% recommended cryotherapy postoperatively.Acetaminophen was the most used preoperative medication (31.3%), the most common perioperative block was an adductor canal block (81.0%), and the most common postoperative analgesic medication was ibuprofen (60.9%). Prior training or experience was more frequently reported than published research as a primary factor influencing pain management protocols.

Other Areas of Research: Joints and Orthopedics

Lead Researchers

Link to Publication


  1. Sasha Carsen

    Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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