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ACL Injury? You Have a Choice in Your Treatment

Posted on: March 21st, 2023 by Our Team

An ACL injury can be devastating, especially for athletes. Repairing an ACL and getting back in the game, isn’t a “one size fits all” answer. Everyone is different, and you have choices in your treatment.

The ACL, anterior cruciate ligament runs centrally through the knee connecting the femur to the tibia. Being an essential stabilizer of the knee, the ACL is responsible for maintaining normal and healthy movement between the femur and tibia.

An ACL Injury

Often when the ACL tears, it doesn’t heal well on its own, leading to a destabilized knee joint which cannot function properly. Most often, a tear in the ACL cannot be stitched back together. The ligament must be reconstructed. ACL reconstruction surgery is a common procedure performed with the goal to restore the knee’s movement and stability. Through a minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure, the torn ligament can be removed and replaced with a tissue graft.

A Choice in Treatment

To repair an ACL, there are two types of grafts that can be used – an autograft or an allograft. An autograft uses a tendon (from you) taken from the patellar tendon, hamstring tendon, or quadriceps tendon. All three tendon choices are effective as long as the surgery is done correctly. An allograft uses a tendon taken from a donor (cadaver) to remake the ligament. This can be an excellent choice for a patient that is 40 or older and not looking to get back to a high level of sports.

There are advantages to all graft sources. Your age, activity level, and health of your own tissues should be considered when determining the best graft source for you. I believe my patients should be educated and have a voice in their healthcare. We will talk through which graft choice is best for you based on your age, level of activity, goals and preferences.

An ACL injury can be a difficult time, especially for athletes. I want to walk with you through the choices you have for treatment. Education is key. Working together, we will build an individualized care plan and timeline to help you get back in the game.

Dr. Ronak Patel has performed hundreds of successful ACL reconstructions allowing a quicker rehabilitation, earlier weight-bearing and often doesn’t require bracing after ACL reconstruction. Dr. Patel has devised an efficient rehabilitation program to allow athletes of all levels (high school, collegiate, and professional) get back to competing at the highest level.

Ronak Patel, MD is a Board-Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon specializing in Sports Medicine injuries for teens and adults in Chicagoland and NW Indiana.

At a Glance

Ronak M. Patel M.D.

  • Double Board-Certified, Fellowship-Trained Orthopaedic Surgeon
  • Past Team Physician to the Cavaliers (NBA), Browns (NFL) and Guardians (MLB)
  • Published over 49 publications and 10 book chapters
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