Are female soccer players more likely to need to go under the knife again after a revision on an ACL surgery?
A recent study by Robert Brophy, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and professor at Washington University School of Medicine, suggests so. The MARS (multicenter ACL revision) study looked to evaluate outcomes for male and female soccer players requiring revision ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) surgery.
The study found many similarities between men and women soccer players following surgery. For instance, male and female soccer players are both likely to return to soccer – 62 percent, in fact, will continue to play after recovery. The length of the recovery is also similar with both men and women, requiring on average nearly 10 months to heal.
But where men and women differ is their likelihood to require additional surgery. One in five women are likely to need it, compared to only one in 20 on the men’s.
“Rates of revision ACL surgery depend on the age and activity of the individual, particularly with regards to cutting and pivoting sports such as football, soccer and basketball,” Brophy told USA TODAY. “For many patients, the rate of revision surgery is below five percent, but for some high-risk groups it can be 20 percent or more. The overall rate is probably between five and 10 percent for most studies, and rates of additional surgery are roughly 10 to 20 percent.”
Brophy says the reason for this is likely multi-faceted.
“The younger age of the women may contribute, as they may be more likely to participate in other sports and activities that could be the knee at risk for injury,” Brophy said. “More study is needed to answer that question.”
Brophy indicated that in general, if men and women are participating in a similar sport or activity, women will be at a higher risk of non-contact ACL injury.
While women are more likely to require additional surgery, the study did indicate that there wasn’t a significant difference in return to play, or how long the athlete would continue to play following revision ACL surgery. Most athletes though, were found to eventually stop playing due to their knee.