ACL tears are increasing at an alarming rate happening to approximately 400,000 people in the US every year. Most people require an ACL reconstruction or surgical intervention to restore stability and minimize the risk of further damage to the meniscus or the other ligaments in the knee. There are nonsurgical solutions depending on the person’s lifestyle and activity level.
Decision making after an ACL injury is not always straight forward but know that you have choices for your care.
Now for the hard part – Which surgeon should perform your surgery?
- Important Factors When Choosing Your ACL SurgeonIs the physician Sports Medicine Specialist. In other words, did they pursue advanced training in the management of ACL injuries? Sports Medicine trained Orthopedic Surgeons went through an additional year of training called a Fellowship to hone their skills. Make sure your surgeon is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon with a Sports Medicine Fellowship – if not, find someone else.
- Volume matters. Did you know the majority of Orthopedic Surgeons perform only a few ACL reconstructions per year? Usually less than one per month, YIKES! It has been shown that an ACL Surgery performed by a low-volume surgeon leaves you at a higher risk of complications and failure. Look for a surgeon who performs several ACL surgeries per month they will be able to fix your ACL correctly and in a reasonable time frame, which improves your chances of success. If the surgeon does not tell you their average number of ACL reconstructions per month, it may be time to find someone new.
- Do you trust the surgeon? Sounds simple, but what is that voice in the back of your head saying? You probably shouldn’t stay with a surgeon you do not trust.
- Did your surgeon take the time to educate you about ACL injuries, what options you have available, what your graft choices are, and what the rehabilitation will entail? Make sure that you are well educated about the procedure before going under the knife.
You have many choices when you have suffered an ACL injury but remember you have time to make an educated choice. Do your research, and most importantly you need to choose a qualified surgeon to perform the procedure.
The Physicians at Austin Sports Medicine’s Center for ACL Injuries are here to help and are happy to meet for a consultation.