ACL surgery is where a surgeon reconstructs or replaces the ACL in the knee.
A combination of surgery plus therapy before and after can restore the knee to its original range of motion.
ACL surgery uses another piece of tendon to graft onto the torn ligament.
The concept is simple.
The surgeon drills a straight hole through both the top of the tibia (leg bone) and the bottom of the Femur (thigh bone).
He threads the holes with the new tendon, tying them off on either side. It’s like a shoelace between two eyelets that hold the knee together.
The incisions are small, leaving little scarring.
Although it’s a delicate surgery, most patients can go home the same day.
Surgeons refer to this type of surgery as a graft, and it can be done with several different graft choices.
There are two types of grafts. An Autograft tendon comes from your body, and an Allograft tendon comes from a donor (a cadaver).
For people under 40 and athletes, an autograft tendon taken from either the patellar tendon, hamstring tendons, or quadriceps tendon is your best option compared to allograft tendons.
Studies show a lower failure rate. More surgeons are opting for the quadriceps tendon as an ACL graft. It’s thicker than other tendons, and harvesting it reduces the risk of anterior knee pain.
The downside with harvesting a tendon from your body is that now you have two places that need to heal. After surgery, getting the right kind of ACL rehab therapy is critical to regaining full knee function and avoiding re-injury.
If you have a torn ACL, expect to undergo physical therapy for at least three weeks before the surgery. The reason is patients who have a stiff knee that lacks a full range of motion before surgery may have mobility issues after.