ACL Reconstruction in Elite Athletes: Which Approach Is Preferred?

Photo: Football player

Many casual competitors look to professional athletes to learn about advanced training and recovery techniques. Similarly, sports enthusiasts may also pay attention to the treatment options used by these elite players, particularly when it comes to ACL injuries. An ACL tear is one of the most common conditions to occur in athletes of all levels, affecting as many as 300,000 people per year, and there are many ways to address this concern. Dr. John Hoffman, our board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, is extensively trained in the leading ACL reconstruction techniques, including bone-patella tendon-bone (BPTB) grafts. BPTB grafts are one of the most frequently used in professional athletics, and Adrian Peterson, Derek Rose, and Carson Palmer are just a few examples of players who have reportedly undergone this procedure.

The reason sports medicine surgeons choose BPTB grafts for athletes so often is because this technique has several advantages for players. BPTB grafts typically offer a lower rate of re-rupture, heal faster, and cause no residual hamstring weakness. BPTB autografts, which are grafts harvested from the patient’s tissue, can have even higher return-to-sport success (achieving around 96-98 percent, according to national results) than other autografts and BPTB allografts—grafts made from donated tissue. What is appropriate for an elite athlete is not always ideal for non-professionals, however. BPTB can be an excellent option, but the recovery usually will be more aggressive and intense, and some lingering knee pain may occur. As with all knee conditions, treatment should be customized to suit the unique needs of each person.

Dr. Hoffman has performed over 1500 BPTB ACL reconstructions. During your initial consultation, he can evaluate your injury and determine if this technique or another approach can optimize your results.