Allografts vs. Autograft for ACL Reconstruction

Calendar June 28, 2018

Question: What graft what you recommend for ACL reconstruction for a 25-year-old who hopes to return to regular athletic activity (pick-up basketball, golf, softball, cycling, etc.).  I Had a hamstring autograft for a previous ACL reconstruction in the same knee. ACL has torn again. What are the pros and cons of patellar tendon versus allograft? Besides front knee pain, does the BPTB ACL reconstruction have other problems like increased risk of patella fractures or patellar tendon tear?

Dr. Kim Foreman: For young athletic individuals I recommend a bone-tendon-bone autograft, as do almost all NFL team orthopedists.  It is strong, is well fixed with screws, tolerates relatively early rehab, and has a very good track record.  Allografts take a little longer to incorporate and have a tendency to loosen some with time.  Short term anterior knee pain is common with all ACL surgeries; patella fractures and patellar tendon ruptures with B-T-B autografts are rare.

What’s the Difference Between an Autograft and Allografts?

Both an Autograft and Allograft are organs, bones, tissues, or tendons that are used as transplants by surgeons at the time of reconstruction surgery.  An Allograft typically comes from a donor, such as a friend, relative, or a cadaver. Autografts are tissue the surgeon use from your own body, which usually means there will be a second surgical site.  Both have been around for several years, and both have solid outcomes.

Azalea Orthopedics has the largest sports medicine team in East Texas, and we are located in eight surrounding locations for your convenience. If you have suffered a sports injury and would like to speak with a specialist about your options, contact us today, or click here to ask your orthopedic related question.

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