WHAT ARE MY TREATMENT OPTIONS?
Surgical treatment of the torn ACL usually involves an arthroscopic surgical reconstruction of the injured ligament. Although a number of different types of tissue have been utilized to reconstruct the ACL, the most common type of ACL reconstruction involves harvesting the central third of the patellar tendon with a bone block at each end of the tendon graft. Many patients may benefit from allograft, which is a donor tissue from a cadaver. Often as strong as the patient’s own tissue, this graft is suitable for the demands of certain patients. Allografts allow for less scarring, faster surgery, and a quicker return to normal daily activities such as work or school.
The remaining tendon is then repaired. After harvesting the tissue, drill guides are used to place holes into the tibia (bone below the knee) and femur (bone above the knee). By placing the drill holes at the attachment sites of the original ligament, when the graft is pulled through the drill hole and into the knee, it will be placed in the same position as the original ACL. After pulling the graft through the drill holes and into the joint to replace the torn ACL, the graft is then held in place with bioabsorbable screws or metallic screws.
After a period of rehabilitation and sports training, most patients enjoy a successful return to full activities.