What is ACL repair?
ACL repair means repairing your own ACL back to the wall. This can only be done in a very limited number of patients that have a very specific type of ACL tear. ACL repair is not the same as ACL reconstruction. Patients that are best selected for ACL repair are those that have an acute ACL tear at the attachment point on the femur (thigh bone) and no other injuries to the surrounding tissue within the knee. There has been increased interest in utilizing this procedure especially in pediatric patients. An advantage of ACL repair is the possibility to maintain the natural anatomy and function (biomechanical) of the patient’s own ACL which may be decreased in those who receive an ACL reconstruction. Changes in the natural anatomy and function after ACL reconstruction may be associated with increased risk of early onset osteoarthritis in those undergoing reconstruction. ACL repair does not require any form of graft and uses the existing ACL tissue.
During the surgical procedure for ACL repair, sutures are passed multiple times through the patient’s existing ACL. 2 small tunnels are then made in the femur (thigh bone) and secure the existing ACL in place. A tunnel is then made on the tibia (shin bone) and the ACL is then anchored in place (See Picture).