Larry S. Rosenberg, MD, FAAOS

Patient Education: ACL Reconstruction

ACL Reconstruction
Active individuals, recreational or professional athletes who sustain an ACL injury find it difficult to jump, cut or pivot without instability. Continued giving-way episodes will lead to meniscal and cartilage damage and ultimately, arthritis. In today's society, getting back to the playing field or back to work sooner and faster is of paramount importance. Using better and stronger fixation devices, individuals undergoing ACL reconstructions can return to normal activity and sports within 3-4 months.

Hamstrings techniques of old used to have poor results due to poor fixation and stretch of the graft. New instruments and fixation devices have resolved these issues.

Hamstring tendons are the strongest autogenous graft and give the least morbidity. Commonly, the traditional methods of bone-tendon-bone grafts lead to increased quadriceps atrophy, patella tendonitis and potential patella fracture. Harvesting hamstrings is done through less than a 40cm incision with no risks of fracture or increased extensor weakness. The fixation techniques allow immediate and aggressive rehabilitation. Bone-tendon-bone ACL reconstructions still have their place; but for most, hamstrings allow much smaller incisions, faster rehab and fewer complications.

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Last Modified: March 12, 2018