A Unique, Biologic Approach to ACL Treatment

The ACL is one of the most commonly damaged components of the knee. The majority of orthopedic surgeons remove the damaged ligament and replace it through reconstruction. However, there is a unique ACL treatment available that (in many cases) may be a better option that provides early promising results.

In some studies, utilizing the biology of the remaining ACL in surgery improves the clinical results as well as the neuromuscular control the patient has. Patients who have had both treatment options – one knee with a full “reconstruction” of the ACL with removal of the remaining ligament and the other with the reconstruction technique using the remaining  ligament (biologic) – state that the knee with the biologic reconstruction “feels more natural.”

knee acl

The ACL Surgery

In most ACL surgeries, the first step is to remove the remnant of the torn ACL. For up to 95 percent of surgeons in the U.S., this is a crucial step for visualization. In fact, most surgeons don’t think twice about this process and believe removing the ACL stump is necessary to prevent Cyclops lesions, or notch over-stuffing, among other issues. However, European orthopedic surgeons often use a different technique.

With this technique, surgeons will arthroscopically examine the cartilage, meniscus, and other nearby components, eventually moving to the ACL remnant. At this point, they don’t take it out. Instead, a graft is brought through the ACL remnant, which allows for a biologically enhanced reconstruction. Once in place, the grafted area often looks as though the natural ACL has been restored.

knee ACL

Benefits Offered by the New Biologich ACL Reconstruction Technique

It is important to remember that not all orthopedic surgeons have adopted this restoration technique. However, it offers a number of benefits that other ACL surgeries may not be able to match. For example, evidence suggests a preserved ACL remnant provides better proprioception and vascularity, which is essential for the long-term viability of the knee and the graft. Also, ACL remnants have the capacity to improve the ligamentization of the graft. Other benefits include:

  • ACL remnants help to preserve the synovial sheath, helping with vascularization
  • Surrounding the ACL septum are stem cells that can contribute to the regeneration and repair of the ligament at the site of the rupture
  • Increase in angiogenesis and cellularity and higher biomechanical strength compared to the traditional surgery results

The human body is complex and as a result, many surgical procedures are overly complicated. However, this complexity is not always necessary to achieve the best results. Preserving the ACL remnant is a smart move, providing enhanced biologic reconstruction that may provide superior outcomes then traditional ACL procedures.

Review Dr. Daggett’s research on ACL treatment:

ACL & ALL Role in Controlling Rotation of the Knee

ACL & ALL Surgical Technique

Outcomes of Combined ACL&ALL Reconstruction

Intercondylar Notch Dysplasia Leads to ACL Rupture

ACL Cyst Treated With Aspiration



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