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Readers Respond: Best ACL Graft Option for You

Responses: 43


Updated August 27, 2010

From the article: ACL Reconstruction
ACL grafts choice can be a challenge for patients facing ACL reconstruction. There are advantages and disadvantages of each of the graft options, and you may have different preferences than other patients. Why did you opt for a particular type of graft choice? Did your doctor recommend a particular graft type for you? Which Did You Choose?

right acl and meniscus, twice

I tore my acl and meniscus playing college soccer in 2002. After conversation with my good family friend and orthopedic surgeon, we decided on the patellar graft because it tends to be the strongest. Being only 19 at the time and intending to continue my college soccer career, it seemed like the wise choice. I believe, still, that it was. I re-tore that graft 4 years later playing soccer, post-college. I was active on my legs and knee for the last 7 years. Although I couldn't play soccer on it, nor do any cutting, I was able to run competitively, bike, train, etc. However, last week I re-tore what's left of my meniscus and am unable to straighten my leg as a result of how the meniscus tear folded back into my joint. That said, I will be repairing my ACL and meniscus for the second time in the same knee. I will be using an allograft because the recovery time is shorter. Surgeon choice trumped graft choice because every artist has use of the same paint, though not all paintings are equal
—Guest waited until ready

Pateller graft is the way to go.

I tore my ACL twice on in my right leg in 2010 and my left leg Feb 8, 2013. I tore both playing basketball. I chose the pateller graft because it was best for my age. i was able to come back and play sports. I am looking forward to playing sprots in college next year. Word of advice DONT RUSH YOUR REHAB PROCESS TAKE YOUR TIME. My right knee is back to normal and my left is getting there im a month out of surgery and i can walk, and out of my brace.
—Guest S.Ransom

hamstring fo sho!

hamstring is the best chance at a normal knee. did not want future knee pain with patellar, did not want foreign tissue and chance of breakdown with allograft. I am a surgeon myself and often surgeons want to do what THEY are most experienced with. Patellar tendon been used for many years so most surgeons are more experienced with Patellar. if you an find a doctor with great experience with Hamstring graft, I think it is the way to go. Also highly recommend getting the nerve block as this gives you the first 24 hours essentially pain free and place the leg in full extension immediately post op. Day one I had full extension, one week out 90 degrees flexion. Be religious with the rehab, good luck to everyone else.
—Guest Jennifer

2nd Tear, Different Choice

Tore left ACL 15 years ago at 33 years old (skiing), went with patellar graft. Very difficult rehab, but no lingering issues. Tore right acl two months ago (soccer), and this time went with allograft. Same doctor, but given my age, and his belief that allograft issues have been largely resolved in last 15 years, he recommended allograft, primarily due to difference in rehab (length and pain). So far, I think he's right. I'm one-month post surgery, and off crutches (today!!), bending and straightening almost fully, full weight bearing and feeling like I'm well beyond where I was last time. Obviously an individual choice, but am thus far satisfied with decision. Most important choice isn't which graft, but which surgeon. Get a good one, take his/her advice, and work the rehab religiously.
—Guest Matt


I had ACL reconstruction with the patellar tendon about 8 days ago and I'm already putting about 90% of my weight on the surgical leg. The biggest problem that I've encountered however is that the body senses trauma in the knee so it shuts down your quadricep muscles which are slowly coming back to me now. The shin gets extremely sore for the first few days after surgery too. But, I can bend the knee 50 degrees already! It kills not being able to do sports for a while but I'm getting through it! Best of luck to the rest of you!!
—Guest Camryn

Both Knees w/ torn ACL

I had the hamstring tendon surgery on my left knee 3 yrs ago and its still going strong. I'm military, so I run, play sports, stay active. I do have pain when kneeling for long periods, but I deal with it. Right ACL tore and no surgery yet. I still run, play sports, stay active with very minimal stability issues. I will say the hamstring took 6 months of intense therapy to get range of motion and strength back to normal. Easy to get discouraged/frustrated because it's slow going and even though you might feel you can do more, the knee says otherwise. Just need the right attitude and the motivation to bend/straighten that knee again and the strength to suffer through the slow therapy sessions.
—Guest chuck

patellar graft or hamstring???

My daughter tore her left ACL 11/2011, had patellar graft repair. still has trouble kneeling down. she just tore her right ACL What do you think? Heard it is not as strong but recovery is quicker. She plays basketball so we need the strongest one. Not sure what to do??? Our surgeon moved and now we have to find a new one. So far the two we have seen have not been what we wanted. first one was weird, second one was great but wants to do the hamstring, which she does not want at all!


I tore my acl in July 2012 and had the patellar reconstruction 3 months after in October... I feel so pessimistic about my recovery :( I'm 91% extended and 71% flexed. Which is good but I still can't walk right. I'm off the crutches. I was told this is the best graft but its a lot longer to recovery, but it's worth it. I was off crutches within two weeks, and driving :0 although I shouldn't. I still can't fully straighten the leg when walking, and still can't lift the leg up on my own accord, and it's been 1 month post op surgery now...
—Guest Paige112

Graft Choice

I tore my ACL last year in a car crash. I had surgery about 2 months ago. I decided on my patella tendon because of the strength of the graft. I am in my early 40's and need a strong graft for my job. I still have pain in the kneecap and have trouble going down stairs. To soon to decide if I should have used the allograft.
—Guest Lynn


I tore my L ACL when I was 30, and at 40 decided to have it repaired, my surgeon recommended an allograft because of my age and the recovery period. It was great for the first year and then slowly started to decline, one day my knee just gave out and I slipped down the stairs. MRI showed another meniscus tear, a lesion on the kneecap and no ACL. I am three months post op microfracture, and meniscus repair as well as a bone graft into the tibia where he had to take out the hardware and pack the tunnell with bone for another ACL. I am not happy with the Allograft and will not choose it for my second surgery. I am going to the doctor today to discuss my options.
—Guest loulouj

2nd ACL tear (right knee)

After my first tear 11 months ago, i went with the allograft. Everything went great until i got permission to attend sports. And at 9 months out, i tore it again tumbling. I would not reccomend using someone elses tissue, but i may have just had a bad experience. My 2nd ACL reconstructioning is next week with the HS graft. I'm 16 so i hope it heals correctly so i can be a competitive athlete once again. And some advice would be.. DONT RUSH RECOVERY!
—Guest Lauren

Happy with patellar graft

I tore my left ACL with no cartilage damage in my late 30's while playing tennis. I elected not to have surgery (long story not relevant to this discussion) untilI tore my medial meniscus, making surgery necessary in my early 40's. My new doctor offered cadaver and patellar options and I selected patellar for the sizing issue and a concern I had for tissue rejection with allografts. I have been very happy with my results. I was able to return to my office job in a week or two, but rehab for full function was long - several months. It was a year before I could return to previous activities. Younger patients probably recover more quickly. I have been able to ski, play tennis, softball, bicycle and run, all without a brace and without instability or discomfort ever since. I am now 60. Kneeling on hard surfaces remained painful for several years and the joint is sensitive to barometric changes but otherwise no complications.

My allograft failed!

I had an ACL reconstructive and meniscus surgery in July 2010 and used an allograft. After 6 months of physical therapy and over 1 year of recovery, in September 2011 I tore the same ACL and meniscus in addition to my MCL (all in the same knee as the first time). Tomorrow I'm having my second ACL reconstruction (and meniscus and MCL) surgery and I'm planning to use an autograft of my hamstring tendons. Hopefully after my surgeon harvests my hamstring, he will be happy and my knee will be stronger so that I won't need a 3rd revision!!
—Guest Celine

Pateller graft was best choice

I was 48 and tore my ACL during february of 2012. I visited one Dr who had done rotator surgery for me and he suggested cadaver ligament. I went to a Clinic that had done several years of study on Pateller grafts and the success rate. I went to that clinic and had the pateller graft. Even though it meant more invasive surgery and longer recovery, I listened to the DR and my athletic trainer and within two months I was able to run 20 to 40 yards and ride bikes. The stair climbing after two months is still a little painful and it seems during this spring that when temps went from 50 to 80 and back again that I had some pain but if you work through the pain and do what the DR tells you on a Pateller graft it will be the best surgery to repair the ACL.
—Guest Ron Brown

Donor tissue.

In 2006 I tore the left ACL as well as both meniscus. At the end of 2011 I tore the right ACL. Both times My Doctor used donor tissue. In rehab now and if goes as well as 2006 i'll be very satisfied.
—Guest Tom C

Which Did You Choose?

Best ACL Graft Option for You

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