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Old     (mwgwin)      Join Date: Oct 2002       07-29-2005, 3:28 PM Reply   
I just wanted to share how I am rehabbing my knee after ACL reconstruction since I keep reading thread after thread of people who are concerned about how they are coming along with their therapy. It seems from my experience (had the same surgery last year on my other knee) that physical therapists and surgeons like to take the safe road and wont tell you the things you can be doing at home to make your rehab move so much faster. Here is my story so far and Ill post periodically with my progress as I go along.

Disclaimer: Everyone is different so if you move along faster or slower than I have, dont worry. Depending on your surgery and how your body handles it, some of the milestones I mention may not be attainable. Keep your head up and keep trying. I am not a doctor so the advice in this thread is purely that, advice. It is NOT gospel. I have done countless hours of research on this and am just telling my experience.

Method of injury
It was a beautiful Friday afternoon (June 24th) on the Mississippi river. I was out cutting it up on my 05 Parks 140 Biolite with 04 L Temet bindings, doing mostly big air grabs with the occasional backroll. I was getting the biggest air of my life (according to the passengers) and I was feeling right at home. Edged in for a regular heelside jump, blew up off the wake, poked out my left leg for a stiffy and when I landed, I heard this "crunch" with two distinct popping sounds. I had torn my right ACL last summer so I knew what that sound meant. It wasnt as loud as it had been the year before but as soon as I climbed in the boat and took a step on that left leg and felt it buckle, I knew my ACL at the least had been blown.

After visiting my regular doctor and then getting an MRI, my worst nightmare was confirmed, torn ACL. I then met with my surgeon and scheduled surgery for July 27th.

At this point, what you want to do is focus on extension (extending your knee out so your leg is straight) and flexion (bending your knee, trying to touch your heel to your butt) of the knee and try to get it as close to back to normal as possible. Do this by stretching both ways as far as you can and hold it for 10 minutes several times a day. Try to get on a stationary bike and put the seat as far down as you can tolerate and ride, ride, ride. Once you get your range of motion back, do some leg presses and/or squats to help regain strength in the knee.

When you talk with your surgeon, there are basically three different ways to do the ACL reconstruction that are widely used. Those are patellar graft, hamstring graft, and cadaver. I went with the patellar graft becuase it has proven to be tht strongest and best long term solution. Hamstring grafts tend to be more elastic and may not provide the needed support and cadaver tissue is significantly weakened when frozen in liquid nitrogen. These differences may be negligible and I didnt go into extremely deep comparison on them since I just decided to go with the patellar graft on my surgeons recommendation as well as the recommendation of several other doctors I spoke with (I work for a fairly large HMO).
You will also want to request a cryotherapy device. This device is a cooler attached to a knee strap that flows cold water to your knee and signifincatly helps reduce swelling which in turn will make your rehab exercises easier. Request the Donjoy Iceman. You can find more information on this here I had borrowed one from a friend to use prior to surgery. My surgeon wanted to use the Aircast CryoCuff and now having used both, dont settle, get the Iceman, its ten times better. The CryoCuff you have to drain and refill manually every 90 minutes, there is no pump to continuously run the cold water through.

Summary pre-op
Work your knee to get full extension and flexion
Work on regaining full strength in the injured knee
Decide which graft works best for you by discussing with your surgeon
Strongly request the Donjoy Iceman for cryotherapy.

Operating time:
Here is my retarded a$$ IVed up waiting for surgery.
Here are my knees pre-operation

You will be presented with a couple different options for anasthetic, general or a spinal block. Last year I chose the general and was completely knocked out for the surgery. Came out all groggy and delirious. This time I chose the spinal block and was awake for the surgery. I requested a video of the orthroscopy and I got one step higher. I was able to watch a television of the surgery while it was taking place. I gotta say, it was a trip, felt like they were just hammering on my bones with a hammer and chisel sometimes, drilling, and cutting... but it was well worth it. When we were done, I was completely alert. I had to spend an extra couple hours in the recovery room waiting to regain feeling in my lower body but that was okay. When I left, I could barely put weight on my good knee and my midsection was still completly numb. I lied to the nurses so I could get the heck out of there. I couldnt feel my jewels until hours later which is very disturbing. :-) I had to check my pants to make sure it was still there.... :-)
Pic post-op

So, from the surgery center, I got some massive hunger since it was now after 5:00PM and I hadnt eaten since dinner the night before. Mom, girlfriend and I went to Olive garden and I ate like a maniac. Of course, against doctors orders which were to go straight home and rest. What do they know, they only went to school for like 10 years! Anyway, the knee felt great the whole time we ate, it wasnt till the ride home that I started to feel some pain.
Here I am grubbin:

Got home, typed up a schedule in MS Excel on when I would do certain excersices and when I would take meds, etc. Looks something like this:
Day 1
13:00 Start surgery
15:15 End surgery Move to recovery
17:30 Vicodin Leave surgery center
18:00 Ibuprofen Dinner @ Olive Garden
21:00 Vicodin Flexion 110
22:00 Heel prop

Here is a picture of the flexion

Flexion 110

I wont lie, it was the worst pain I have ever felt but want that bad once you got there and held it. Get it to 110 and hold for 10 minutes. Right after you are done with that, do a heel prop. Heres a pic:

Heel prop

I got the pillow under my heel and the weight bag from this site. Its $100 and usually reimbursable by insurance. Its a must have in my opinion.
Buy it!
So this is pretty much all I did for the first night and next morning. Here is my schedule for Day 2.
Day 2
2:00 Vicodin
5:00 Vicodin
7:00 Ibuprofen
7:30 Heel Prop
8:00 Flexion 110
9:00 Heel Prop Vicodin
10:00 Heel Prop Flexion 110
11:00 Heel Prop Ibuprofen
11:45 PT
13:00 Ibuprofen Vicodin
14:00 Heel Prop Flexion 110
15:00 Muscle Stim
16:00 Heel Prop Flexion 110
17:00 Muscle Stim Vicodin
18:00 Heel Prop Flexion 110
19:00 Muscle Stim Ibuprofen
20:00 Heel Prop Flexion 110
21:00 Vicodin
23:00 Heel Prop Flexion 110

I tried to stay motivated and do some therapy every hour but there are some hours where you just dont want to do I was sleeping some in there. Dont push it too far.

Doing this, I was able to walk into my PT appointment 22 hours after surgery with NO crutches. Whenever you are walking anywhere, try to bear ALL your weight on the knee. I recommend holding onto your crutches just in case. PT was pretty worthless, I told him everything I was doing at home and I think he was speechless. He said he was going to have me do the same stuff in the office so I could either do it there or go back home and do it. I chose to go back home. He did remove the dressing and look at the incision, pic here:
He also mention to start working my quad which I had forgotten about. Try to get a muscle stimulator from your PT for this. Its a device that sends electric shock through the pads and kinda forces you to flex to deal with the shock. Heres a pic of what it looks like:


Once you get comfortable with the muscle stimulator, try to raise your leg 6 inches off the ground when the stim shocks you. Once you are comfortable with the leg lifts, put the water weight you got with the Breg therapy kit over your knee for added reistance.

That gets me to where i am right now, roughly 48 hours post-op. I am walking around with no crutches very slowly. I am removing the large brace when I do my rehab exercises and Im watching A LOT of movies. Starting to get cabin fever and cant wait till I can at least get back on the boat and watch my friends board. Ill keep posting on this thread with my progress. Hopefully this helps answer some questions out there. I have videos to go along with just about every aspect of my surgery and revoery so far. Trying to put together a little documentary that I can post when Im done.

L8R for now...
Old     (thirdgear)      Join Date: Jul 2005       07-29-2005, 3:40 PM Reply   
Great post man. Very sorry to hear about your injury, but I'm quite impressed with how you're handling it. Invaluable advice!
Old     (leykis1o1)      Join Date: May 2005       07-30-2005, 2:20 PM Reply   
im not looking forward to this..but great advice..will look into a cryotherapy unit
Old    mia            07-30-2005, 4:24 PM Reply   
mike -- did you do any other damage ? (pcl,mcl,or minuscus)

i just had acl, pcl, and minuscus surgery and my pt is a little different.

btw, had little to no pain after the surgery (took no pain meds post hospital). i was in a knee imobilizer for 4 weeks / cane /crutches and now in a custom cti2 brace...

range of knee movement is at 120 (my norm is 140)..



(Message edited by clubmyke on July 30, 2005)
Old     (mwgwin)      Join Date: Oct 2002       07-30-2005, 4:31 PM Reply   
no other damage, just ACL and 10% meniscus. This is not the therapy my surgeon and physical therapist were recommending. I came up with this on my own research. They thought it was too aggressive but agreed that it should not hurt me. Im already glad I took this approach since I have been walking around on it all day today, taking breaks to ice it down. Last year it was almost 10 days before I could walk on it with no crutches. This time, two days!
Old     (hypo303)      Join Date: Jun 2004       07-30-2005, 8:37 PM Reply   
can you walk right after you tore your knee
i hurt mine around 2 months ago
and i cant straighten my knee all the way or bend it to my butt...i have crappy insurance so i been just dealing with it ,i also board in pain sometimes....if i tore my acl would i still be able to do these things...i also walk miles everyday at my job
sometimes with no problems..
maybe someone knows
Old     (leykis1o1)      Join Date: May 2005       07-30-2005, 9:13 PM Reply   
all the ACL does is hold your bones from popping out of joint..according to my surgeon he says many pro-football players dont even have a ACL....its the mass of muscle that hold there knee together!!
Old     (dudeman)      Join Date: Mar 2005       07-31-2005, 6:57 AM Reply   
Very detailed post Mike. I've been down the leg being stapled road before from my left ankle to my groin, so I know how uncomfortable at least that part is. Hope you heal quickly.
Old     (mwgwin)      Join Date: Oct 2002       07-31-2005, 10:04 AM Reply   
Update on my rehab. Went to a friends party last night for a couple hours. I was planning on going downtown with them but Im glad I didnt. I was so impressed with my rehab that I figured I would be fine to go out a night and celebrate but the longer I stood up, the more pressure built up and I finally decided to bail and go home. All the while I have been walking around with no crutches and no brace. I had planned on putting the brace on if I continued drinking but the thought of wearing that abomination in 95 degree heat and the swelling I already had, I went home. Not to mention all the griping I had to listen to from my female friends about drinking while taking Vicodin. I guess bottom line, 3 days post op, probably not a good idea to try to hit the town... :-)

HYPO, I could walk right after the tear. Every so often my knee would "buckle" but for the most part, right before surgery, I was almost 100%. I did a lot of range of motion exercises though, stretching (pulling my heel to my butt), and heel props for extension. Then leg presses, etc. at the gym for strength. It tool about 2 weeks of that before The "tightness" went away. I went out and hit the wakeboard one last time before surgery...didnt do any jumps but I felt like I could have. Like Ryan said, the ACL is really an optional ligament. It helps for when you are stopping/starting abruptly, or cutting hard. If you develop all the muscles around your knee, you can do just fine without it. Did you hear a pop when you originally injured the knee?

Randy, that sounds pretty painful. What on earth did you do to have staples all the way up your leg?
Old     (dudeman)      Join Date: Mar 2005       07-31-2005, 10:52 AM Reply   
Mike I didn't have a torn ACL. My staples came from a ruptured varicose vein surgery gone bad. Was supposed to be a small incision at my ankle and one at my groin. Woke up and he told me there were complications so he had to make an extra cut. Anymore of a cut and I would have been talking a couple of octaves higher. I'm like you though, walk around and party after surgery. The staples tend to rip thru the skin that way. Leaves for some nasty scars. Take it light and recovery will come faster. Not that I follow that advice.
Old     (mwgwin)      Join Date: Oct 2002       08-01-2005, 11:54 AM Reply   
Day 4 and 5 I changed things a little. Here is my schedule:

Each exercise for 10 minutes and do them consecutively.
7:00 Flexion 110+, Heel Prop, Leg Lift w/ muscle stim, Vicodin
(I have the muscle stim set to be on for 10 seconds and off for 5, hold your leg up for the whole 10 seconds it is stimulating your muscle)
Repeat every two hours except switch off meds between Vicodin and Ibuprofen
Everywhere I walk, I am bearing full weight and no crutches (no brace either). That includes going up and down stairs. Still keeping constant ice with the DonJoy Iceman except when exercising. Im beginning to use the stationary bike as well but havent added it into the schedule. Tried it yesterday and it felt pretty good.

Knee still starts to feel really tight from swelling if I am upright for more than 30 minutes bearing weight on it.

(Message edited by mwgwin on August 01, 2005)

(Message edited by mwgwin on August 01, 2005)
Old    kara_b            08-01-2005, 2:51 PM Reply   
holy crap man your recovery time is unreal! i was curled up in a ball in bed for the first few days. very impressive.

i must admit...i don't ride. i'm actually a powerlifter/olympic lifter. i found this board and your log doing a google search for cti2 knee braces! very cool that you're posting your daily progress. i'm doing the same...although 2/3 of it is bench press training and miscellaneous rambling.

tomorrow will be 6 weeks for me and i feel WAY better than i thought possible by now. but the rate you're going, by 6 weeks you'll be ready to board! your agressive rehab style is no doubt gonna produce great results. seems like PT just holds you back. i actually ditched it after 1 session and have been doing everything on my own.

what are your thoughts on functional bracing when you return to sport?

(Message edited by kara_b on August 01, 2005)
Old    kara_b            08-01-2005, 3:02 PM Reply   
ps...guessing by the scar you went auto-patellar on your right knee as well. any problems with patellar tendonitis?
Old     (mwgwin)      Join Date: Oct 2002       08-02-2005, 9:04 AM Reply   
Thanks Kara, I have been very happy with my progress. Last year, I too layed in bed for 4 days before I saw a physical therapist. I am starting to believe that it is those first two days after surgery that are key to a fast recovery. Its now 6 days post operation and I am back at work and walking almost normally. The swelling is under control and I am weening myself off the vicodin. Im moving into muscle control exercises now, doing mini squats with no weight focusing on keeping my knee down perpendicular with the floor. Make sure you can see your toes while going through the whole squat. Ill try to get a picture tonight. Also working on walking normally in front of a mirror and walking backward. Still doing the flexion exercises every couple hours but Im now laying off on the heel props. When I was at PT yesterday, I got 121 degrees flexion but my extension was a little too far. After doing my own research, you dont want your knee to hyperextend that easily, it will stretch the ligament and make your knee too "loose". Im cutting back to doing heel props as needed, if I feel my leg is not extending all the way. Hitting the stationary bike as well, putting the seat low enough where I can feel it working my knee. As I get used to that level, I will keep putting it lower to get used to that range of motion.

Less heel prop
Same Flexion exercises
Mini squats (sets of 25 at least 3 times a day)
Walking (walk forward at least 30 feet in front of a mirror, then walk the same distance backward. Do this for 10 minutes at least 3 times a day)
Stationary bike (I have been going a mile on the highest seat level where I feel some pain, then lower it one level, ride a mile, then one more. Try to stay within 2 levels of where you started, dont want those staples shooting out :-)

Kara, to answer your question, yes I had the patellar graft done on the right knee last year. That knee has healed fairly well, it is back at 100% strengthwise, still some numbness and sore if I get down on my knees but I hear that will be around for several years after surgery, maybe forever. My kneecap area was sore for quite a while after surgery but now I dont notice much pain at all unless I am walking around on my knees.

On braces, I am very much for them, especially when doing sports. Not so much for strength or stabilization, but moreso to prevent hyperextension. I usually configure my CTI2 to around 10 degrees so it really isnt possible to lock out my knee when Im riding. It also protects the knee from bending sidways which is how I tore my ACL last summer. Im not 100% completely sold on the CTI2 Vapor but it has been pretty good to me so far. Im not a big fan of the velcro straps that keep it on, it seemed to slide quite a bit until I got it refitted. My advice on braces is whatever you choose, make sure you talk with the sales rep for that company and know all the different options you can get. Especially if you are making an insurance claim. I found out the hard way that there was an oversleeve to my vapor that would prevent the condile pads from ripping off when I wiped out on the water. Im not that pleased with the orthotic center I went to for not really having a clue about what they were selling. Lesson learned.

Good luck with the rehab Kara, maybe you can help me out later as I am thinking about getting back into body building (I know its hard to tell from the pics :-). I lifted regularly for 3 or 4 years and stopped about 2 years ago when I had my final injury playing rugby (broken collarbone). I trained some with Dale Ruplinger (dont know if youve heard of him). He was a former Mr. Iowa, Mr. USA and Mr. Universe back in the 80's. He trained with Arnold Schwartzenegger. Anyway, good luck with your bodybuilding and your rehab.
Old     (troyl)      Join Date: Feb 2002       08-02-2005, 6:19 PM Reply   
Really nice post Michael. My GF will be having her knee done in October, so she will have to read this tonight.

I also had the spinal block/epideral method for my ACL recon. That was way back in 1995 and the Docs were not very happy with my decision. I just wanted to be awake to hear the coments when they looked in my knee!
I too went with the Patella Tendon and am glad now, 10 years later (and hundreds of double ups) the knee is just as tight as before the injury. They sure are doing smaller incisions now!

Old     (mwgwin)      Join Date: Oct 2002       08-03-2005, 1:49 PM Reply   
Good luck to your girlfriend Troy. I also asked my doc to videotape the orthroscopy. I was told he normally doesnt do that and Im sure most doctors are afraid to for litigation purposes. I think they all should be taped. If you claim to be qualified to do the surgery, you should not have a problem having your work taped. Anyway, saw my surgeon today and he said if I brought in a blank VHS tape, they would make a copy. Im not sure why they wouldnt pony up the $0.50 for the tape but oh well, I want to watch it again.

As for rehab, I completely slacked off yesterday and didnt do anything accept walk on it. Instead I drank a little and went to the local county fair for a Tracey Lawrence concert (for those of you who know and tolerate country music). I probably wont get much done this week as there is a different act each night this week like Big & Rich, Montgomery Gentry, ZZ Top (always one rock band), Brad Paisley, and Phil Vassar. Not a bad lineup. $35 gets you into all of them.

On a serious note, I have been doing flexion exercises at work, still laying off on the extensions and just trying to take the stairs everywhere I go to work on that range of motion. I get on the stationary bike in the morning when I get up to loosen it up from sleeping. My swelling is completely under control now, I havent iced at all today. Im down to only taking the Vicodin at night when I go to sleep and first thing in the morning to help me loosen up.

When I saw my surgeon this morning, his nurse freaked me out because I walked in there normally and she said to me, "You had ACL surgery right?" I said yes. She said, "Last Wednesday right?". I said yes. She said. "Where is your brace?". I said, "I dont need it anymore." She then said, "Something must be wrong, we definitely need to take some x-rays." I started wigging out a little thinking maybei I tore it or something with all the rehab I was doing. Everything turned out fine but she kept saying, I cant believe you are recovered this fast. Ive never seen anyone walk in here that well after one week. Im very impressed.

That felt good and just goes to show its all worth it. I cant believe these surgeons and physical therapists arent pushing a more aggressive rehabilitation. At least give the patient the option. If they want to be lazy and heal slower, then fine, but I would bet most people getting ACL surgery are athletes and have the desire to rehab and get well faster. Im planning on talking again with the director of Sports Medicine at the orthopedic surgery center I went to just to tell my story, hoping it might change things for futur patients. Im guessing that the reasoning is more that they havent seen the recent developments in this area or are weary of practicing methods they have not tested themselves. That is pure speculation. I did comment to my surgeon that the CryoCuff is pretty much a waste of money and the DonJoy Iceman beats it 10 fold. He seemed very receptive to that and hopefully he at least investigates the option.

Well, Ive rambled on enough for now. Until tomorrow....
Old     (cadmanic)      Join Date: Mar 2002       08-09-2005, 2:44 PM Reply   
Stay on it Mike! Still planning on hitting Boot Camp next weekend? I heard there is an awesome band there Saturday night.
Old    kara_b            08-09-2005, 11:25 PM Reply   
that's so cool that you trained with dale. wow! thanks for the info on the braces. i've been in a breg x2k that fits amazingly well considering i got it super cheap off ebay but have my custom CTi2 coming in this week. i was going to get the vapor or vapor sport but the rep and person who fit me recommended i go with the standard CTi2 for all my crazy training stuff. is the vapor sport a bunch lighter? i kinda wish i'd gone with that one.

i can't get over your progress! you're having the fastest recovery i've ever heard of! i was still a vegetable at your stage.

i'm with ya on being more aggressive. i'm doing very hard and unconventional rehab...sled dragging, kettlebells, box squats, deadlifts, and miscellaneous strongman stuff. i'm 7 weeks post op and feel so good i have to remind myself i even had surgery sometimes!

that's so cool you're getting a tape of the surgery. that would be awesome to watch!
Old     (mwgwin)      Join Date: Oct 2002       08-12-2005, 8:18 AM Reply   
Back at ya! I havent really done much for rehab in the last week or so. Been working late and am too tired to do anything when I get home. Anyhow, I have been hooking up my muscle stimulator and running it for 15 minutes every couple hours. This is to help force me to flex my quad that has gotten significantly weaker since the surgery. Im trying to find a new physical therapist since mine is not really aggressive enough for my taste. Ill keep ya posted.
Old     (leykis1o1)      Join Date: May 2005       08-16-2005, 7:48 PM Reply   
if any of you are in need of a "iceman cool therpy unit" i will have one for sale in about a week or so 1/2 price works great!!...ive used it with my ACL injury and my doc cant belive how i have no swelling and how im so mobile after surgery!! i was up and walking around pretty good by day 2 after surgery!!
Old    propayne            08-16-2005, 9:49 PM Reply   
michael, would this work with an MCL injury as well?
Old     (mwgwin)      Join Date: Oct 2002       08-17-2005, 2:54 PM Reply   
I cant really comment on that Chris. Ive searched high and low on the internet and havent found much information on MCL surgery. Assuming they use a graft from your patellar tendon, I would think this would definitely apply. If you use hamstring or cadaver, I hear the recovery time is much easier and faster.
Old    propayne            08-17-2005, 3:11 PM Reply   
i didnt have surgery beacuse 3 doctors said it heals itself....the PT has my doing basically the same thing you are (just went this morning) i just want to come back quick because im missing football at school this year and i want to lift weights and skateboard again. but thank you.
Old     (jro)      Join Date: Sep 2002       08-18-2005, 1:20 PM Reply   
They usually don't do surgery on MCl's, LCL's or PCL's. They simply rehab them. They don't receive the same strain as your ACL so they never replace them.

Michael- The reason your nurse freaked out is because your graft is still very succeptable to tearing out. They tell you to stay down for a while for a reason. Same reason that I doubt you will find a PT who will be as aggressive as you want them to be. I hope you don't have problems with the graft ripping at the screws. Good Luck, I am in the 9th week of ACL recovery and feeling great.
Old     (mwgwin)      Join Date: Oct 2002       08-18-2005, 1:36 PM Reply   
No, I think the nurse freaked out because she had never seen such a fast recovery most likely due to the fact that this idea of "accelerated rehabilitation" has not yet spread to the great metropolis of Davenport, Iowa. My surgeon had no problem with it while surprised himself. I did wear the brace when I was in high risk areas but I was completely confident in my own ability to control my movements to not cause any damage. I spoke to my surgeon extensively about this as I was very concerned that the rehab I was about to do would cause my knee to explode or something. He assured me that as long as I worked within my pain threshold and moved slowly, I would be in no danger of tearing anything. He said and I quote, "Go ahead and try to get it to 110 degrees when you get home from the surgery. I doubt you will be able to do it but more power to you." I was able to do it! Im sure if I was jerking around and making abrupt motions, there would be risk, but I can assure you, the graft and associated hardware is probably a lot tougher than you think.

Now at 3 weeks out, Im doing 200lb leg presses and Im back on the eliptical machine. I can walk completely normal with no limp and trot up and down stairs with minimal discomfort.

Dont be discouraged by Cunning Linguists post, just make sure you talk to your surgeon and he is cool with what you are doing, and if not, find another surgeon. As far as PT goes, I ditched my first therapist and am going to a different one next tuesday by referral of my surgeon who supposedly will "kick my a$$" which is what I asked for :-) The first PT was just whoever was available at that short notice for the day after surgery...

Good luck on your rehab Cunning, I wish you the best.

(Message edited by mwgwin on August 18, 2005)
Old     (mwgwin)      Join Date: Oct 2002       04-10-2009, 8:04 AM Reply   
Been a few years. Im bumping up this thread as 3 people I know have torn ACLs pretty much in the last 6 months. I still stand behind this rehab. I still have problems with my original knee I did standard rehab on but the knee I did this accelerated rehab is stronger. I originally wrote "much" stronger, but to tell the truth, this is the worst surgery I have ever had. Im convinced we need some serious advancements in this type of surgery... your knee is never the same after this. You never get back to the point you felt before the tear... Lets pray Obama doesnt get his socialized medicine or we will never see the advancement we need in areas like this.
Old     (mwgwin)      Join Date: Oct 2002       09-13-2010, 10:56 PM Reply   
will posting here bump this out of the archives?
Old     (mwgwin)      Join Date: Oct 2002       10-13-2017, 7:20 AM Reply   
10/13/17 Update -
Been a very long time since I referenced this thread but ran into a guy last night in casual conversation who is in the biomedical business in orthopedic surgery. Got into an excited discussion of my VERY STRONG regrets not pushing for an allograft (donor) tendon, listening to the surgeons preaching the patellar autograft (harvesting a portion of your own tissue). Make your own choice but if you want to continue to play sports, you MUST push for the cadaver tissue. DO NOT let them harvest your patellar tendon! My last knee injury wakeboarding was tearing my patellar tendon. I am living proof debunking the surgeons theory that it does not weaken your patellar tendon. IT DOES! If you go cadaver, and it doesn't take, buy another one. You cannot buy the middle third of your patellar tendon back!

He then mentioned the latest is taking a portion of your quadricep... interesting development... larger muscle, low rehab in it regrowing... but to me... still not worth it. Think very carefully of how you want to live out the rest of your life.

Anyone who read this is welcome to message or call me and I will be happy to talk live about my experience to help you make yours.

Wish you the best!
Old     (dyost)      Join Date: Jan 2007       10-13-2017, 11:03 PM Reply   
I dunno man... most pro athletes (NFL) get either a patellar graft or hamstring and get right back into high level sports. Everyone has a horror story about this graft or that graft. Not sure I agree with the "if a cadaver graft doesn't take just blow it out and get another one" theory. Each time you blow that ACL there is a good chance you slightly dislocate the knee joint in the process, and there is a very good chance you tear the meniscus. Most ACL tears are accompanied by some form of meniscus damage. So while it's true you can continue to replace the ALC, you cannot sustain repeated damage to that cartilage and have a good outcome long-term.

Personally I had a patellar graft done in 2009 and have had great results and a strong knee with no pain/complications whatsoever. I was extremely close to opting for the cadaver tendon, but ultimately my surgeon convinced me otherwise. I was 28 at the time.
Old     (dyost)      Join Date: Jan 2007       10-13-2017, 11:10 PM Reply   
My injury was accompanied by a tear in the meniscus, which my surgeon was able to suture together and rely on the blood flow created by the bone screws/anchors to facilitate healing in the meniscus. He said that suture doesn't always work but it's worth a shot while he's in there and worst case I would need a scope to clean the torn meniscus back out if the suture didn't take. Luckily I have had no issues.

Just my personal experience.

I had a friend (50 yrs old) go to a specialist to try and regenerate hip socket cartilage with stem cell-collagen injections and micro-fracture in the hip socket.
Unfortunately did not take and he had to go back in for a hip replacement 9 months after.

Point is, you gotta worry about more than just the ligament and consider the cartilage in the knee too.
Old     (dyost)      Join Date: Jan 2007       10-13-2017, 11:13 PM Reply   
When my kids were born we banked their frozen umbilical cord blood and tissue. Obviously there for my kids use first.... but I have this vision that maybe one day genetic research will allow doctors to use those stem cells to grow any replacement ligament I may need when I hit my mid-late 50's here in 20 years and a career of wakeboarding finally catches up to me... haha


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