Which ACL Graft Is Right For Me?

After tearing my ACL and meniscus inside my right knee playing basketball, I did a great deal of research and reading online to determine the best course of action for my recovery. I had a very difficult time determining which surgical procedure to select because I couldn’t decide on the graft choice.  It seemed that there was no clear right answer when it came to selecting either the patellar or hamstring graft.  Both grafts have had good results and everyone I talked to firsthand had mainly positive things to report no matter which surgery they decided themselves.  I even met with two separate surgeons from two separate hospitals not to mention talking to anyone and everyone that I knew had their ACL reconstructed.  It really wasn’t until my Dad gave me the advice of choosing the procedure that gave me the most peace.  I decided finally to have the hamstring ACL reconstruction performed by Dr. Miller with Orthopaedic Specialists of Springfield.

Well, here it is, my collection of links, information and videos that I found helpful in deciding which graft to use and hopefully it helps someone else going through this.  One site that I found really helpful was www.aclsurgery.us.  The site is merely a bunch of people’s accounts and decisions regarding their individual ACL reconstruction surgeries, plus their are some painful to watch clips of professional athletes tearing their ACL.  For some sick reason watching those made me feel better.  Don’t judge me!

LINKS:

VIDEOS:

QUESTIONS I ASKED THE SURGEON:

  • Is my ACL completely torn?
  • Are there meniscus tears?
  • Which graft choice do you prefer?
  • What are the advantages/disadvantages of each graft choice?
  • Do you specialize in sport related surgeries?
  • What risks are there with surgery?
  • How frequently do you perform ACL reconstructions?
  • Do I need to supply a brace after the surgery?
  • Do I need to supply crutches for after the surgery?
  • How long do I need to wear a brace?
  • How long will I need to use crutches?
  • When do I start my rehabilitation?
  • How long will I need rehabilitation?
  • Should I do exercises at home prior to my surgery?
  • When can I return to work?
  • When can I drive by myself?
  • When will I be released to resume my regular sporting activities?

IMAGES:


Image © A.D.A.M.

Hamstring Tendons Used in ACL Reconstruction

Image © www.eorthopod.com

Comments

  1. This is a great collection of ACL information and resources here, Adam! I am glad you put this together.

    Also, I’m not judging you but watching those videos of athletes made me hurt a little.

  2. Hi,

    I found your ACL blog while researching my injury. My surgeon recommends using part of my hammy to reconstruct my ACL but per my research, will there be a risk my hammy will be forever weakened? How are you now and do u feel you made the right choice? Also, I just read Adrian Peterson opted to use his patellar tendon because he felt he needed his hammy for football and didn’t want the cadaver ligament because he didn’t want someone else’s body parts inside his..

    Thanks!

    -Fidel
    Bfee2002@yahoo.com

    • Fidel-

      First off, I am not a Doctor nor do I have any real expert medical opinion in the matter so please take my advice as just that, one man’s experience. With that disclaimer out of the way… I opted for the hamstring tendon for use in my ACL reconstruction and have seen great results. The surgeon/nurse told me that it would be like losing 10% strength in your hamstring which they said it generally not even noticeable. I personally haven’t noticed a perceptible difference and while I am not a professional athlete I still would like to be active and competitive in my own level. I have had friends do both the hamstring and patellar option with great results from each. ACL reconstructions have come a long way in recent years and now that I am 2 years into it I feel satisfied with my results. I too felt a little weird about the cadaver option but I really think it was just a mental thing. I can’t say it would be off the table should I ever have to have another ACL surgery. I know two women that had cadaver grafts with great success.

      Best advice I can give you is to feel confident in your doctor, pick the graft YOU have the most peace with, take your pre-hab and rehab seriously. Sorry, that you have to have it done but I suspect you will be back and active soon! Hope this helps.

      Adam

      • Thanks Adam. Very reassuring! Based on your info and other research I’ve done, all the grafting options are almost equal in stabilizing the knee. There are pros/cons as to infections, rehab time, pain, etc., but I really can’t go wrong with either one. As you said, it comes down to having confidence in my surgeon and putting in the rehab work.

        Thanks again!

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