Quadriceps Tendon Autograft for ACL Reconstruction
Your anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is the piece of tissue that connects your thighbone to your shinbone, right where your knee is located. Injuries to the ACL are common in popular sports like basketball, soccer, football, skiing, and tennis. If you feel like you’ve injured your ACL, don’t worry. There are procedures that can alleviate pain and increase your mobility, so you can get back to playing those sports you love.
NY Orthopedics’ team of medical professionals specializes in both surgical and non-surgical practices. We have offices in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Nassau and Rockland counties, and New Jersey. Our physicians are well-renowned, serving both professional and amateur athletes alike.
What is a Quadriceps Tendon Autograft?
Unfortunately, due to the nature of ACL injuries, surgery is very often needed to regain full mobility or return to an active lifestyle. This is due to a lack of blood supply to the ACL which is needed to facilitate proper healing.
A quadriceps tendon autograft is a surgical procedure that involves a specialized knee surgeon replacing or reconstructing your ACL using the quadriceps tendon, a thick band of tissue located just above the knee.
What happens during a Quadriceps Tendon Autograft?
Once you have been cleared for the procedure, your doctor will place you under general anesthesia. From there, the surgeon will perform arthroscopic surgery on your knee and make two small incisions around the kneecap. After making the incisions, the surgeon will insert an arthroscope, a small camera, into one of the incisions to get a good look at the knee joint. Using precise surgical tools, your doctor will remove the damaged ACL, cut away a small portion of your quadriceps tendon, and begin grafting it where the old ACL used to reside.
How to Prepare for Quadriceps Tendon Autograft
When preparing for a quadriceps tendon autograft, there are a few things you will be asked to do before the procedure. Since anesthesia is involved, you should also make plans to get home:
- An examination to go over your medical history
- Blood work and imaging
- Avoiding blood thinners, like aspirin or NSAIDs, like Ibuprofen.
- Fasting at least 8 hours before the procedure (includes solids and liquids)
- Finding someone to drive you home after the procedure since you will not be in a state to drive
What is the Recovery Time for a Quadriceps Tendon Autograft?
After your procedure, your surgeon may place your knee in a brace for up to about 6 weeks to restrict movement that can hinder the healing process. The early healing process may take anywhere from 8-12 weeks, but it may take as long as 6-10 months before you can return to sports, as your new tendon will need time to fully graft to your knee joint. Keep in mind that these are only estimates, as not everyone will respond to recovery the same.
Here are a few things you should do to accelerate the healing process:
- Take pain medications to alleviate any pain after the procedure
- Ice your knee to reduce swelling
- Avoid moving too much or trying to lift heavy objects
- Take part in physical therapy to keep your muscles and joints strong
Common Risks of a Quadriceps Tendon Autograft
Risks associated with a quadriceps tendon autograft are rare, but there are a few risks that you and your doctor should monitor:
- Blood clots
- Knee instability
- Decreased range of motion
- Reinjury to the graft
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I expect a full recovery after a quadriceps tendon autograft?
- Yes! Both athletes and non-athletes alike see a total recovery after a quadriceps tendon autograft and can return to their everyday lifestyle or the game after the tendon has a full time to heal.
- Is a quadriceps tendon autograft painful?
- Most patients experience mild to moderate pain after the procedure, but this can be lessened with pain medications and icing to promote healing.
- How long does a quadriceps tendon autograft take?
- Generally, it takes a surgeon less than two hours to perform a quadriceps tendon autograft. This does not include post-op procedures and getting you ready for the drive home.
NY Orthopedics Sports Medicine Surgeons
- STEPHEN J. NICHOLAS, M.D.
- BENJAMIN B. BEDFORD, M.D.
- SERGAI N. DELAMORA, M.D.
- SAMEH ELGUIZAOUI, M.D.
- GREGORY GALANO, M.D.
- MARK KLION, M.D.
- MATTHEW GOTLIN, M.D.
- STEVEN J. LEE, M.D.
- MATTHEW (TEO) MENDEZ-ZFASS, M.D.
- NICHOLAS A. WESSLING, M.D.
NY Orthopedics has multiple sports medicine offices in New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, as well as the surrounding counties, including Nassau, Westchester, and Rockland. In addition to quadriceps tendon autografts, NY Orthopedics also is proficient in several joint therapy procedures for the hip, shoulder, and ankle joints. To learn more about our services or make an appointment, contact us today!