The Quad City Area’s Only Group of All Board-Certified
Fellowship-Trained Orthopaedic Surgeons

The Quad City Area’s Only Group of All Board-Certified
Fellowship-Trained Orthopaedic Surgeons

ACL Injury

Does an ACL Injury Require Surgery?

ACL Injury Prevention If you watch or play sports, you may be aware of how often ACL injuries can occur during recreation. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the two major ligaments that help to stabilize the knee. If damaged or torn, the ACL can cause a great deal of pain and severely reduced mobility. Many professional athletes undergo ACL reconstruction to repair this ligament at some point in their careers. However, not everyone who experiences an ACL injury will need an operation. Our experienced orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. John Hoffman, offers a wide range of surgical and non-surgical treatment options, and he will provide customized care based on your singular needs.

Depending on the severity of your injury, Dr. Hoffman typically will recommend trying conservative techniques before suggesting a more advanced option. If the ACL injury is mild to moderate, non-surgical methods offer many benefits. Some examples of treatments include rest, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, a knee brace, or cortisone injections. One or more of these methods may alleviate your pain and restore function with time. If your condition worsens, however, Dr. hoffman may suggest surgery. At Orthopaedic Specialists, we utilize advanced minimally invasive surgical modalities that are designed to reduce downtime and enhance mobility as safely as possible.

ACL Reconstruction in Elite Athletes: Which Approach Is Preferred?

ACL RepairMany 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.

Top Graft Choices for ACL Reconstruction

ACL Repair with GraftsAccording to recent statistics, between 250,000 and 300,000 people experience ACL injuries each year, most of whom are athletes. A torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) can sideline a player for about six-to-nine months or more. Torn ACLs are typically repaired with a tissue graft, and there are many different types of grafts in use. In a recent article published by Orthopedics Today, a selection of orthopaedists discussed the benefits and drawbacks of several commonly used grafts, including the BPTB (bone-patella tendon-bone) graft. Dr. John Hoffman, our board certified orthopaedic surgeon, has performed over 1500 BPTB ACL grafts in his career. He agrees with the article’s overall assessment that this graft offers numerous advantages, particularly for athletes.

Choosing the ideal ACL graft for the patient can help to reduce downtime as well as to reduce the risk of a re-tear. Each graft has its pros and cons, and ultimately the right option will be a personal choice. One of the many benefits of a BPTB autograft—grafts harvested from the patient—is that the tissue quality is very similar to the natural ACL—and 1.5 times as strong. Furthermore, there appears to be a lower re-rupture rate with this method than with hamstring autografts, cadaver allografts (donated tissue), or other types of allografts. The BPTB graft connects bone to bone, rather than muscle to bone (as in a hamstring graft), typically providing greater strength and faster healing as a result. For these reasons and others, over 86 percent of NFL, 81 percent of NBA, and 70 percent of MLS physicians choose to utilize BPTB grafts to repair ACL tears in athletes.

Just as essential as graft choice, Dr. Hoffman explains, is the quality of the surgical technique. If a graft is improperly implanted or fixed, knee instability and re-rupture could occur. Therefore, patients should confirm that their orthopaedic surgeon has extensive experience performing arthroscopic ACL reconstruction with the chosen graft type.

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