I've torn my ACL... what options do I have for treatment?
Unfortunately, a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) does not heal on it's own. In order to regain stability and prevent further "giving out" episodes, surgical reconstruction of the ACL is necessary. This is done through an anatomic all-arthroscopic technique.
One important consideration for ACL surgery is what type of graft to use to reconstruct the ACL. Grafts are divided into two groups, allograft (cadaver tendon) and autograft (graft harvested from the patient). Autografts generally have a lower likelihood of retearing down the road, but have the disadvantage of more postoperative discomfort (from the harvest site). Common autografts include the hamstrings or patellar tendon.
Allografts are taken from a cadaver donor, and have the advantage of making surgery quicker and avoid graft harvesting discomfort. Their disadvantage is that they generally take longer to heal completely, usually requiring 7-9 months before returning to competitive sports, versus 6 months for autografts.
Ask the Doctor!
Submit your question on the next page and Dr. Nigro will respond to you personally.