Consumer Health Blog

ACL Reconstruction: Autograft or Allograft? You Choose.

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

If you’ve had an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, ACL Reconstruction can eliminate your pain and restore the function of your knee so that you may return to an active lifestyle. Depending on your age and activity level, you have two basic options (see below), each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Your surgeon will be happy to discuss them with you and help you choose the one most suitable to your situation.

Autograft. The original, or oldest, option for ACL repair is the autograft (self graft). In this type of ACL Reconstruction, your surgeon harvests a tendon from your own body, often an accessory hamstring or part of your patellar tendon, usually from your injured knee. The advantages of this procedure are the immediate availability of source tendons, reduced risk of bacterial infection, and more immediate likelihood of graft acceptance. In addition, your cost is frequently less.

Allograft. The newer allograft (donor graft) ACL Reconstruction which uses bone or tissue usually from a cadaver’s body, has become a viable option in recent years. Likelihood of a faster recovery from this procedure because of the lack of additional injury from tendon removal is one of its prime advantages. However, it does have disadvantages: some risk of infection due to the introduction of foreign material into your body; a possible immune response; and a slightly weaker graft. Your surgeon will guide you to the type of ACL Reconstruction most suitable to your needs.


Surgeons at Abington Surgical Center perform both self-graft and donor-graft ACL reconstructions. Please contact your physician to learn more and to discuss which procedure would be most appropriate and beneficial for you.

Need a referral to an orthopedic surgeon? Please call our Referral Coordinator: 267-960-1440.

Information provided is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor.