Your ACL does a lot of work in your knee and unfortunately is often injured. While there are nonsurgical treatment options, surgery may be recommended by your doctor. Efforts to repair the ligament itself are usually unsuccessful without the use of a graft (living tissue that is surgically transplanted). Below we have listed the two main types of grafts used currently, and two types of grafts that are currently in the "trial" stage.
Types of Surgical Procedures to Repair an ACL
An Autograft is a surgical transplant using tissue from your own body. 3 areas are normally used for the transplant:
Another hard-working part of your knee, a tendon located in the back, is considered the best option for autograft. This tendon heals itself and can completely grow back, and has a much lower rate of graft failure.
A good option, with a smaller incision and shorter recovery time than Patellar Autograft.
Often used with patients who have had unsuccessful ACL reconstruction in the past, this graft uses a bigger portion of tissue, but therefore requires larger incisions.
Each of these comes with pros and cons to consider, including decreased strength in the donor muscle/tendon, reduced knee mobility, and chronic knee pain in certain areas.
An Allograft is a surgical transplant using tissue from a cadaver donor from a tissue bank. The benefits include a smaller incision, shorter recovery, and less recovery pain. Unfortunately, it is more expensive, and you may run the risk of rejection from the donor material.
Graft-Options in Trial
Certain artificial materials are currently being studied as possible options for grafts. While grafts with human tissue have not yet been completely successful, medical researchers are hopeful.
This option uses non-human tissues in the graft and is currently in the human-trial stage. Results so far have been mixed, but increasingly successful.
What to Expect from Surgery and Recovery
Repairing the ACL can require more than just a graft, and further injuries may affect which option your doctor recommends. Here are a few other possible procedures your doctor may request:
- Patellar Realignment
- Various ligament/tissue repair
Full recovery from surgery can take up to six months, while full-function usually takes a year of rehabilitation. It is important to be aware that surgery can affect your ability to work in a moderately active environment. Talk to your doctor to receive more information about your specific case.
Choose An Expert Orthopedist To Repair Your ACL
There are many graft options and techniques available to reconstruct the ACL. Xee an experienced orthopedic surgeon to understand which option is right for you. Contact Dr. Gustavel for an ACL consultation!