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Experience Critical in Pediatric ACL Repair

aaronLast March, ten-year-old Aaron Knauss was rounding second base during a recess game

of kickball when the class was called in. He suddenly stopped and turned to head into the school, but his knee “popped” and really started to hurt. Aaron began to complain more about his knee, so the next day Aaron was referred to pediatric orthopaedic surgeon Meagan Fernandez, DO, at Geisinger Medical Center.

“We scheduled Aaron for an MRI and took him to see Dr. Fernandez, who confirmed he had a torn ACL,” says Josh Knauss, Aaron’s father. “We scheduled surgery and discussed the types of procedures that were possible for someone as young as Aaron.”

Dr. Fernandez used a physeal sparing ACL reconstruction technique, which would spare the growth plate and allow Aaron’s bones to continue to grow and develop. Because the procedure is so different, a surgeon’s experience can make a big difference in the patient’s outcome.

Aaron was sent home with a circulator ice pack and knee brace. After a few days of rest, ice and elevation, Aaron began his rehabilitation.

“It used to be much more common to see young children with fractures than with ligament tears,” says Dr. Fernandez. “However, it is something that is happening more and the surgical approach is very different from how we would treat an adult.”

 “Aaron was a model patient,” says Dr. Fernandez. “He did a great job at following post-operative instructions. And he worked very hard in rehabilitation, so he has made remarkable progress.”

“Probably the most difficult part of this injury was trying to hold an active 10-year-old back and keep him safe,” says Josh. “Dr. Fernandez was really helpful in letting us know what to expect; we were very well prepared and, fortunately, everything went very smoothly.”

Last fall Aaron received a green light to participate in competitive sports again, so he is back to kicking, shooting, throwing and catching any ball that comes his way.