2 – My ACL Journey – ACL Repair vs. ACL Reconstruction


Dear ACL, 

Choosing the right surgeon is not a difficult task and there are more components than having the “best surgeon.” These are the list of things I look for when choosing a surgeon that is right for me: 

  1. Am I comfortable with this surgeon. Do they answer all my questions and do I have a feeling of trust and comfort when I am around them? Are they confident with their answers and do they back it up with research? Are they very adamant about one way or are they open to other methods, and if so why? 
  2. What is their interest, specialty, and how many surgeries of that type do they do a year? 
  3. Does you insurance cover their services ? If you have a PPO, is their entire team (including the anesthesiologist) in network with your plan? Is open enrollment around the corner and do you want to change your plan to accommodate your surgery and post surgical and rehab appointments? 

I am fortunate to have many friends who are orthopedic surgeons. I went to see Dr. Nima Mehran at Kaiser, who quickly got me a knee MRI, and confirmed I had a proximal ACL tear. In the MRI images, my ACL is torn but still sitting vertical and he stated I could maybe be a candidate for a repair but most likely a reconstruction. I consulted with a couple other of my ortho surgeon friends, and a close friend of mine, thought an ACL repair could be possible while others thought I might as well do a reconstruction since I am having surgery anyways.  

I spent 4 days going back and forth between the pros and cons of a repair vs. recon. I am a very decisive person, and this was the first time I could not make a decision. I spoke to my colleague and boss, who eased my mind by advising me that I should try the repair and then if it’s not possible, do a reconstruction.    

I made a chart on the two types of surgery to help me make my decision. 

I knew I wanted a quad autograph reconstruction because I wanted to avoid any type of anterior knee pain, I want to be able to kneel for my job, and I have very strong quads to harvest from. I also do not participate in any high impact or cutting sports so I don’t necessarily need a BTB (Bone-tendon-bone patellar autograft). 

And after discussing this with many colleagues, friends, and surgeons, I decided to aim for the repair but be ready for a reconstruction if the ACL is unrepairable. Surgery was scheduled for 9/27/22. 

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