Bone and Joint Institute

Document Type


Publication Date



Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine





URL with Digital Object Identifier



© The Author(s) 2020. Treatment strategies for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries continue to evolve. Evidence supporting best-practice guidelines for the management of ACL injury is to a large extent based on studies with low-level evidence. An international consensus group of experts was convened to collaboratively advance toward consensus opinions regarding the best available evidence on operative versus nonoperative treatment for ACL injury. The purpose of this study was to report the consensus statements on operative versus nonoperative treatment of ACL injuries developed at the ACL Consensus Meeting Panther Symposium 2019. There were 66 international experts on the management of ACL injuries, representing 18 countries, who were convened and participated in a process based on the Delphi method of achieving consensus. Proposed consensus statements were drafted by the scientific organizing committee and session chairs for the 3 working groups. Panel participants reviewed preliminary statements before the meeting and provided initial agreement and comments on the statement via online survey. During the meeting, discussion and debate occurred for each statement, after which a final vote was then held. Ultimately, 80% agreement was defined a priori as consensus. A total of 11 of 13 statements on operative versus nonoperative treatment of ACL injury reached consensus during the symposium. Overall, 9 statements achieved unanimous support, 2 reached strong consensus, 1 did not achieve consensus, and 1 was removed because of redundancy in the information provided. In highly active patients engaged in jumping, cutting, and pivoting sports, early anatomic ACL reconstruction is recommended because of the high risk of secondary meniscal and cartilage injuries with delayed surgery, although a period of progressive rehabilitation to resolve impairments and improve neuromuscular function is recommended. For patients who seek to return to straight-plane activities, nonoperative treatment with structured, progressive rehabilitation is an acceptable treatment option. However, with persistent functional instability, or when episodes of giving way occur, anatomic ACL reconstruction is indicated. The consensus statements derived from international leaders in the field will assist clinicians in deciding between operative and nonoperative treatment with patients after an ACL injury.


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

This article was originally published as:

Diermeier, T., Rothrauff, B.B., Engebretsen, L. et al. Treatment after anterior cruciate ligament injury: Panther Symposium ACL Treatment Consensus Group. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 28, 2390–2402 (2020).

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Find in your library



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.