Allograft vs Autograft ACL, Which Is Better?

Allograft vs Autograft ACL, Which Is Better?

So, allograft vs autograft ACL, which is better?

Autografts are the preferred choice by orthopedic surgeons. They have a marginal better failure percentage and are less expensive.

That being true, the allograft is an excellent option for ACL reconstruction and has its time and place.

Allograft vs Autograft ACL
Credit: NicDumZ, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Surgical Options For ACL Reconstruction

What Is An Autograft?

An autograft is a graft (body tissue) taken from someone’s body and used in their body for a procedure.

What Is An Allograft?

On the other hand, an allograft is a tissue given by a donor.

Prior to surgery, the surgeon will take the graft out of the fridge and thaw it out for the procedure.

How Do I Decide Which Graft To Use?

In most situations, you will not decide which graft to use. That will be up to the qualified judgment of your orthopedic surgeon.

However, if you do have input there are some factors to consider.

First of all, autografts are slightly more effective than allografts. Specifically, autografts have a 6% failure rate; allografts have a 7% rate.

No, a 1% difference is not very significant. However, autografts are statistically slightly more effective than allografts.

The main reason that autografts are preferred over allografts is that they are less expensive.

Allograft vs Autograft ACL, Which Is Better?

Because they are slightly more effective and less expensive autografts are the preferred choice by most surgeons.

However, allografts are frequently used and are perfectly sufficient.

When Are Allografts Useful?

Allografts have their usefulness for ACL reconstruction surgery. Although they are not the first choice by most surgeons, they make sense in many scenarios.

For example, before my ACL reconstruction surgery, my surgeon explained that if my hamstring tendon was not ‘thick’ enough, he would use the hamstring graft and an allograft.

So, in scenarios where autografts are insufficient for the procedure (determined by the surgeon), allografts are extremely useful.

ACL Functions

The main purpose of the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is knee joint stabilization. There are four ligaments in the knee, two lateral and two cruciate.

Cruciate ligaments work in unison to allow the knee to move back and forth. The ACL prevents the tibia from slipping in front of the femur.

To perform dynamic athletic movements, the ACL is critical.

About The ACL Rehabilitation Process

What Is The ACL Recovery Process Like?

ACL tears are an incredibly difficult obstacle to overcome. It is one of the most testing, unfortunate setbacks any athlete can suffer.

It is a one to a two-year recovery process that comes with ups and plenty of downs.

However, with each day, each week, and each month, you will feel the progress. To ensure a speedy and proper recovery, taking rehab seriously is imperative. What you put into your ACL recovery is what you will get out of it.

With each physical therapy session, the discomfort becomes lesser and lesser. Each step becomes easier and easier.

For a more detailed description of the ACL rehabilitation process, click here.

How To Tell If You Tore Your ACL

If you think you may have torn your ACL based on these symptoms, it is imperative to see an orthopedic surgeon or go to the ER as soon as possible.

Allograft vs Autograft ACL: Other FAQs

Can You Workout Upper Body After ACL Tear?

Typically, not until 6-10 weeks after surgery.

The ACL graft actually gets weaker before it becomes stronger. Because of this, the most vulnerable state of your knee is over a month post-surgery.

Therefore, even a small amount of leg drive used in upper body workouts could retear the graft.

Learn more about this here.

What Is Worse, ACL or Meniscus Tear?

An ACL tear is much more severe than a meniscus tear.

Both injuries are serious. However, ACL tears almost always warrant surgery and a lengthy recovery period.

Learn more here.

ACL Hamstring Tendon Graft

The hamstring tendon graft is among the most popular choices by orthopedic surgeons for ACL reconstruction surgery.

Learn more about this option here.

Can You Run With A Torn ACL?


Linear movements such as running, walking, and biking are possible without an ACL.

The ACL is required for more dynamic movements such as explosive jumping, cutting, and starting/stopping quickly.

Learn more here.

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