Knee ACL Procedures

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a band of tissue connecting your shin bone to your thigh bone. When you tear or sprain this ligament, you have an ACL injury. This type of injury can occur if you overextend your knee joint, hit the side of your knee too hard, or quickly stop and change directions while running, turning, or landing from a jump. Renowned orthopedic surgeon James Chen, MD, can assist those struggling with a knee ACL injury.

Female runner holds knee as if in pain with ACL injury

ACL Reconstruction: An Overview

An ACL reconstruction is an open procedure that can replace a torn ACL using a tendon graft. James Chen, MD, relies on two types of ACL reconstruction options.

ACL Reconstruction Treatment Options

One of the options San Francisco orthopedic doctor James Chen, MD, provides is autograft surgery. This type of surgery involves taking tissues from your body and using them to repair the ACL. Autograft surgery has many benefits, including:

  • No danger of rejection
  • No risk of disease transmission
  • Lower re-rupture rate
  • Lower cost
  • Faster return to full activities

There are three main sources for an autograft ACL, including the patella tendon, hamstring tendon, and quadriceps tendon. Patellar tendon grafts can be the most successful option.

Allograft surgery is the alternative type of surgery James Chen, MD, provides. Allograft surgery uses a graft from a donor, usually a cadaver. It can provide benefits like:

  • Smaller scars
  • Easier rehabilitation
  • No graft harvest site issues

For an allograft surgery, the most common sites are the patella tendon, Achilles tendon, and hamstring tendon.

What to Expect During Treatment and Recovery

When you turn to an experienced San Francisco knee doctor like Dr. Chen for an ACL reconstruction, he will perform a full examination to understand whether you have a full or partial ACL tear and what type of reconstruction procedure will work best.

If he decides on autograft surgery, Dr. Chen will show you how to prepare for this major surgical procedure.

It involves the use of a general anesthetic and can take between one to two hours. Dr. Chen will begin by taking a piece of tendon from the transfer site and making small cuts to the outside of your knee so that he can pass thin and long instruments to the inside of your knee.

With these instruments, Dr. Chen will remove the damaged tissue and repair the injury with the extracted tendon.

The allograft procedure is almost identical, but instead of using tissues from your body, Dr. Chen will use donor tissues.

Your recovery from both of these types of procedures can take between six and nine months and can involve a period of rehabilitation as well as physical therapy to help you regain mobility, strength, and stability.

ACL Repair: An Overview

Some ACL tears can be successfully repaired instead of requiring a full reconstruction. An experienced surgeon like Dr. Chen might choose this option if the ACL is torn off one end, but the tissue remains healthy.

ACL Repair Treatment Options

To repair an ACL tear, Dr. Chen will use sutures to sew the end of the ligament that has snapped off.

If the ACL has torn in the middle or if the tissue is not healthy, reconstruction surgery will be necessary.

What to Expect During Treatment and Recovery

The procedure will require general anesthesia. Dr. Chen will create 4.5 mm cuts to insert the instruments he needs. He will use sutures to sew the ligament in place and then use a bioabsorbable anchor to attach these sutures to the bone. The procedure can take one to two hours.

The recovery period is generally shorter than that for an ACL reconstruction. You will need to use crutches for two weeks and a hinged knee brace for six weeks after that. Physical therapy will also be necessary.

Schedule Comprehensive Care for Your Knee and ACL with James Chen, MD

To get quality care, turn to James Chen, MD. His patient-centered approach and personalized treatment plans make him one of the most respected surgeons in San Francisco, CA. With patient testimonials that speak to his expertise and compassionate care, you know you are in good hands when you turn to him.

Call Dr. Chen today.


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