Pros and Cons of Autograft or Allograft Use in ACL Reconstruction

  • Posted on: Apr 26 2014
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The two most common approaches to arthroscopic anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL surgery is the use of an autograft or an allograft. Each approach has its own set of risks and benefits, so let’s take a look at the differences between these two methods.


  1. What is an autograft? An autograft is a part of a tendon taken from your own hamstring or knee cap that is inserted into the knee joint to replace a torn cruciate ligament.
  2. What are the advantages? An autograft is a more natural approach to ACL surgery as it uses your body’s own tissue, nearly eliminating the risk of rejection.
  3. What are the disadvantages? Although the autograft approach is more natural than the allograft, there is some risk involved. More surgical time is required in order to obtain the autograft sample from a different location in your body. This means longer time spent under anesthesia, which carries its own set of risks. Multiple incision sites may be needed in order to obtain an autograft, which can increase the risk for nerve injury or damage.


  1. What is an allograft? An allograft is tissue from an organ donor that has been sterilized and processed. The  cadaver tissue is obtained from a tendon that closely matches the structural properties of your own ACL.
  2. What are the advantages? An Allograft requires less surgical time than an autograft. In the past 15 years, the use of allografts have become a safer and more viable option for patients with extreme injuries involving multiple ligaments in the knee.
  3. What are the disadvantages? Donor tissue  may not always be available, and the cost is significantly higher than using an autograft. Use of an allograft always runs the risk of immune response complications such as rejection, or failure to incorporate itself properly into the function of your own body. In some cases, an allograft may take longer to fully heal and connect with your existing joint. Allografts have been reported to have a lower success rate among younger, more active patients.

Sports Medicine Specialist in Worcester

For more information on the differences, risks, and benefits of using autografts or allografts in ACL reconstruction contact us today.  Our offices are located in Worcester, proudly serving the surrounding areas.  Schedule your appointment today at (508) 363-6363.  We hope to hear from you soon.

Posted in: News and Updates, Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Injuries, Sports Medicine

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123 Summer St.
Suite 520
Worcester, MA 01608

Tel: 508.363.6363

123 Summer St. Suite 520, Worcester, MA 01608 508.363.6363