What do you ask your doctor when preparing for ACL surgery?

Dr. Charles Preston, Sports Medicine, and Orthopedic Specialist at Muir Orthopaedic Specialists discusses questions to ask your surgeon or physician before undergoing ACL surgery.

Question: What do you ask your doctor when preparing for ACL surgery?

Answer: The discussion I have in the office regarding a torn anterior cruciate ligament is more or less the same, whether the athlete is 15 or 50. I discuss three very important issues.

First, we discuss whether an ACL reconstruction is indicated. In the vast majority of high school athletes with many years of recreational athletics in their future, I recommend ACL reconstruction.

Next, we need to discuss the timing of surgery. Generally, I recommend two-to-three weeks of rehab with a physical therapist to prepare your knee for surgery.

Lastly, we discuss the graft choice for ACL reconstruction. The ACL can be reconstructed with the central third of the patella tendon, or soft tissue from the hamstring tendons, or tissue from a cadaver that we get from a tissue bank. This is the area that leads to the longest discussion in the office, and more often than not, I recommend using the central third of the patella tendon in a young, healthy athlete.

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