STAMFORD, Conn. -- Dr. Robert Marx, a sports medicine surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, tackles the world of ACL injuries.
My son tore his ACL playing high school soccer. How will this affect him later in life?
Hopefully it won’t. Any patient who tears their ACL is at higher risk of knee arthritis, but it is certainly not a guarantee.
I heard that ACL injuries are different for females versus males. Is this true?
The injury is the same for females and males, but is up to six times more common in females.
Do I really need to have surgery for my torn ACL?
Patients who participate in cutting and pivoting sports such as basketball, soccer and football have a very high chance of developing knee instability and their knees giving way if they don’t have surgery for a torn ACL. Avoiding surgery can often lead to cartilage and meniscus damage. For older, more sedentary patients who are not participating in such sports, non-operative treatment may be an option.
What do you use for your tibial and femoral fixation? Allograft vs. autograft?
Interference screws are used most often, but there are many devices available for graft fixation.
How much stronger are bone grafts relative to other graft sources? How soon can an athlete return to play cutting sports at a high level without restrictions?
Graft selection is controversial. It does not affect time estimates for return to play. Allografts are not recommended for young athletes due to high re-tear rates that have been discovered in recent research. They are more suited to older adults with shorter recovery windows who are also generally at lower risk of re-injury due to a lower activity level.
Dr. Dr. Robert Marx is a sports medicine surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery. He specializes in arthroscopic and open procedures for knees and shoulder problems as well as knee and shoulder joint replacement surgery. He practices at both the HSS Outpatient Center in Stamford and the hospital’s main campus in New York.