Here are 5 Questions you should be asking your prospective surgeon. […]
1. How many ACL surgeries have you performed?
If the answer is none, you clearly are in the wrong place. This is important to know because you want to make sure your surgeon is experienced with this particular surgery. In todays world most orthopedic surgeons are specialists. Find someone who takes a lot of these cases throughout the year.
2. What graft choices have you used, and which one do you use on most cases?
Most surgeons will have a preference on graft choice. Weather they believe it is the bets choice or they just may feel most comfortable performing this particular method. Ask about their decision making process.
3. What graft choice do you suggest for me, and why?
If your returning to sport, most surgeons will either recommend a hamstring or patella tendon graft. These two options have been used widely and heavily researched. Again, ask about the different options and what may be best for your specific needs.
4. Is there any alternatives to surgery?
Non operative conservative care can be a valid option for some following ACL injury. It all depends on you the individual, and what your goals are. If you are returning to a sport that requires sprinting with cutting/pivoting you most likely will need to have the ACL reconstructed. Having said that, all surgeons should recommend prehab before surgery. It is recommended that your injured knee have symmetrical range of motion, no swelling, and 80% quadriceps strength compared to the opposite leg prior to surgery. Having these characteristics have demonstrated stronger outcomes.
5. What is your return to play plan for someone like me who would like to get back to sport?
If the surgeon doesn’t have a particular plan or certain guidelines he or she follows then you should look elsewhere. Return to play rates are a lot lower then we think, and 2nd injury rates are a lot higher then we think. This means that every athlete under going this surgery must rehabilitate with a systematic approach, having strict progression guidelines in order to return to their sport. ACL functional tests should be performed throughout the recovery process to ensure the athlete is meeting the physical and mental requirements needed for sport. Ask your surgeon about the various therapists he interacts with and if they specialize in this particular injury and ACL recovery process.