Knee Repair Primer: Comparing ACL Surgical Techniques

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are all too common both on the field and off, no matter what your age. Luckily, today there are a range of treatments, including surgery which can often help repair the damage. Plus, therapy techniques (and continuing exercises) can keep the leg muscles strong to support the repaired ligament. 

But when we talk about ACL surgery, what do we mean?

Basically, there are two types of ACL surgery: if you have an injured ACL, ask your doctor which would be best for you.

Single-Bundle ACL Surgery

This traditional ACL reconstruction involves taking a ligament graft to replace one of the two bundles that make up the ACL. Since the ACL cannot be sewn back together, surgeons use a graft from the hamstring or patella to replace it. The graft is placed through one hole in the tibia and one hole in the femur, then secured in place with a screw.

Double-Bundle ACL Surgery

This surgery is a newer technique, which replaces both bundles in the ACL instead of one. Two small grafts are used instead of one large graft. Two holes are made in the tibia as well as in the femur, and four screws are put into place. Some sports medicine physicians believe that the double-bundle technique more closely replicates the normal anatomy of the ACL than traditional single-bundle surgery. This replication should improve knee kinematics, resulting in more normal functioning and long-term strength.

Discover why Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth is home to Georgia’s winning sports medicine program. Visit to learn more, including the most common types of ACL injuries and treatment, including non-surgical ones.


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