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Equipment and Grafts for ACL Surgery

Healthcare providers will use a variety of equipment and grafts for ACL surgery. The graft is tissue that is placed in your body to repair the damaged ligament. An arthroscope and either metallic or dissolvable screws are the primary pieces of equipment, and grafts for ACL surgery can be taken from the hamstring tendon, patellar tendon, or from a cadaver.

Equipment and Grafts for ACL Surgery: An Overview

There are several types of equipment that your surgeon can use for ACL reconstructive surgery. Some of these include:
 
  • Arthroscope
  • Screws
  • ACL graft.
     
Arthroscope
During your ACL reconstruction, your doctor will use an arthroscope. The arthroscope is long and thin, about the size of a writing pen. It acts as a camera that projects an image onto a TV monitor so that your doctor can see inside your knee. It can also take pictures and videotape the surgical procedure.
 
Screws
Your doctor will also use screws, either dissolvable or metallic, or similar devices while reconstructing your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The dissolvable screws will eventually disappear after their function has been performed, while the metallic screws will remain in place for life.
 
ACL Graft
An ACL reconstruction requires placement of a graft. A graft is tissue that is placed in your body to repair a defect or damage. In this case, the graft is replacing the torn ACL. There are at least three options that your doctor can choose for a graft. These include:
 
  • The hamstring tendon
  • The patellar tendon
  • An allograft (a tendon that comes from a cadaver).
 
Each type of graft has advantages and disadvantages. For the allograft, there is less pain after surgery, and because the graft is not taken from elsewhere in the patient, there are no possible complications from the graft removal. However, there is a small risk of transmitting disease and possible rejection of the graft. The allograft also takes longer to heal, which may affect your rehabilitation time and when you can return to sports activities.
 
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