What options do you have when you tear your ACL? Lots of them actually. Saying ACL reconstruction is more specific then repair. The tissue is gone, it has exploded even, and so you are not able to repair that in most cases.
There are two main types of graft tissue, allograft that is from something else. Usually we call this cadaver. There is also an autograft, which is from you. So another area of the body is being repurposed. Usually, patella tendon or hamstring tendon.
Djimmer is actually an expert on this. He has had a patella tendon graft on his right knee and a hamstring graft on the left knee. So a lot of first hand experaince. In addition Djimmer has had a child who has undergone ACL reconstruction. He had a hamstring graft. So you can also speak to the parental aspect of recovery.
Christiaan is also a member of this club. He is ACL deficient. So he has partial torn his ACL and chosen to not have it reconstructed.
Graft type wise. Allo is from a cadaver and traditionally you will see patella but you can see a variety and sometime you won’t know exactly where your graft is coming from.
Outside of graft type one of the most important aspects of a successful reconstruction is getting the angle right. The impact of the surgeon is much more important in recovery and function then the tissue used for the reconstruction. This is because the location of the new “ligament” has much more impact on the function of the knee then what the tissue is made of.
The selection of tissue during an autograft is important because it will immediately impact your recovery. Selecting tissue from your patella or hamstring will cause a second location that also needs to recovery. The benefit of the autograft is that the tissue is fresher, there is almost no chance of rejection and the long-term laxity is typically much lower.
In our opinion the most important aspect to keep in mind when choosing what to do for your ACL reconstruction is to pick the surgeon you feel will do the best job. Within that selection it is typically best to have the surgeon perform the procedure and graft tissue they use most often and would more then likely do best. This will give you the best chance for quicker recovery and long term function and effectiveness.