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Readers Respond: Best ACL Graft Option for You

Responses: 43


Updated August 27, 2010

ACL-17 year old

Quadriceps graft was used and to this point has worked really well. at 3 months no swelling and was able to start doing whatever he felt comfortable. At six months was fully released and could do whatever I wanted.
—Guest bill

Hamstring Was Best for Me

There's always that risk of rejection/infection with a graft from someone else, therefore, I decided to go with my Semitendonous Tendon on my hamstring. It went well and the scar is small. It's been two years and I feel great. Unfortunately, I have 3 torn meniscus now but those will be taken care of shortly... Good luck!
—Guest Waldemar

patellar tendon graft: problems

I was 44 when I tore my ACL. I had a patellar tendon graft as that was the "gold standard'. My knee never healed correctly and now I'm basically through with sports. I wish I had a cadaver graft. I read later that studies show that people with chrondromalacia and similar knee issues should not use a patellar graft as using it strongly exacerbates preexisting kneecap problems. My ACL is good now but I have kneecap arthritis and had to give up sports and even greatly reduce activities like hiking. This particularly applies to women, apparently. If that is suggested to you and you are older, a female or have other knee issues, I would strongly advise a second opinion or at least asking your doc about the studies.


I tore my ACL and both menisci doing taekwondo in early 2008. My surgeon told me his preference was allograft because using one's own tissue left weakness wherever the tissue was taken. I also had an A-frame ACL which he reconstructed for extra stability. I am not crazy about the big scar that reconstruction required, but I AM loving the stability and mobility I have!
—Guest KickinMom

What should I do?

I'm a 48 year old female. I like the idea of the allograft. I'm meeting with the surgeon this week. I'm not a athelete but I enjoy my dance classes at my health club and would like to be able to do them My Acl is completely torn, with a significant meniscus tear. Any feedback is appreciated.
—Guest Lori Schaefer


I had a complete tear to my ACL, MCL, and several meniscus tears due to a fall on the ice in December 2010. My surgeon gave me the option of two types of surgery using my own cartilage or having an allograft. He stated due to my age of 47 and not being an athlete putting more demands on my ACL, the allograft would be the best option for me. Reasons for the allograft included a quicker recovery time, less pain from surgery and little scarring on my leg. The surgery was done the end of December 2010 and I'm recovering. I was skeptical about the donor transplanted tissue, but now very grateful. I used an ice machine all the time the first week after surgery, The doctor and physical therapist were amazed at how my knee looks. Presently, I have to wear a leg brace for at least eight weeks, use crutches, and go to physical therapy three times a week. The recovery is a long process, but I'm glad I chose the allograft.
—Guest Monica

Trying to Decide for My 16 yr old

I have gotten two surgery opinions. 1 for the patellar tendon and the other for the allograft. I am researcing to decide for my child. Both surgeons have extensive experience working with athletes. My child is in Track. Tough decision. Perhaps try allograft and if problems go to patellar.
—Guest Sonya H

4th of July Tear

I had a complete ACL tear in my left knee on Independence Day. I went with the patellar, the pain can be hard to deal with, both physically and mentally, but in the end it was worth going with that option.
—Guest 4th of july tear

In defense of Patella

I just got my ACL done in Nov 2010. I had already been to one doctor who suggested Allograft. When I went to another Doc, who is one of the top in the field and operates on many pro athletes. When he suggested Patella I was taken back. I didn't expect it. He explained that Patella grafts is the strongest, most proven graft. I'm a very active person and he said my #1 priority should be a reliable replacement to minimize my chanches of tearing again. He said this is the same recommendation to an NBA player he just operated on. He also told me a few stories about young active people who snapped their donor and/or hamstring graft fairly quickly. I know patella is the most destructive and riskiest for long term issues, but it is best at preventing another ACL tear. I am still second guessing it (I do that with everything), but in my situation, I believe it was the best choice.
—Guest steve

recent tear

I tore my ACL a year ago and got the hamstring graft. My doctor was very confident and the surgery was quick. My recovery time has been longer than expected, but that is because I am a slow healer. I am a college soccer player, so I need to make sure I'm 100% before I step back out on the field competatively. I have heard there is a new option where they take a tendon from your healthy knee which means both legs have to heal and thus makes recovery easier because you have to work both legs the same...
—Guest sara

Patellar tendon graft

I tore my ACL in both knees - one 22 years ago and one 20 years ago. I also tore my medial meniscus in each knee and have none left in my left knee. I recently had my 10th knee surgery - (my 9th was nearly 17 years ago.... Anyway, I had the patellar tendon graft done in each knee. In addition to having arthritis throughout my knee....I have a great deal of pain in the patellar area of my knee. It is very painful to walk down stairs and hard to excersise at all. Wish there was something I can do for this pain, but at this point - nothing is being done.
—Guest ACL Tear x2

acl graft choice

I chose a donor acl. dr. went into surgury thinking there was not any problems with my knee but I knew better. He told my mom it was gone and their use a donor like I wanted and I would be staying all night instead of going home.
—Guest leslie

Not Much of a Choice

I had a complete ACL tear in my left knee. This was 25 years ago and I'm sure the technology has much improved. The orthopedist basically explained that he would take the graft from the patellar tendon in the same leg. I watched the surgery as I just had a spinal block (my choice) and the surgery was apparently routine. At that time there was concern about too much activity post-op so I was prescribed a passive motion device and told to use crutches for a number of weeks. I couldn't drive for a couple of weeks because I wasn't supposed to push in the clutch. Consequently, the rehab took a very long time and it was a couple of years before I had the same strength in both legs. An athlete I was working with tore her ACL and the doctor recommended an allograft, saying that that procedure was all he did because it didn't do further damage to the knee by removing tendon material. The fears of infection have been eliminated because of irradiation according to the doctor.

Which Did You Choose?

Best ACL Graft Option for You

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