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Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I tore my left ACL in a skiing accident three years ago. Last month I injured my ACL on the other side while playing beach volleyball. I had a hamstring graft the first time. Should I have the same surgery this time?

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repairs are still done using either a patellar tendon graft or a hamstring tendon graft. Results have been equally good with both in terms of pain relief and knee stability. Just as many athletes return to their preinjury level of play with either method.

There is one major difference to be aware of. A five-year study comparing patellar to hamstring tendon graft repair showed a significant increase in osteoarthritis (OA) with the patellar tendon graft. Patients with patellar tendon ACL grafts had a narrower joint space and more bone spurs on that side.

Based on the results of this one study, you may want to stick with the hamstring tendon graft for both sides. Ask your surgeon about this. Graft choice may be a more important consideration in the big (long-term) picture than previously thought.


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