ACL Reconstruction (Patellar Tendon Graft Technique)

By Drew Heideman, PT, ATC

ACL reconstruction with patellar tendon graft technique. 

JOI ACL Reconstruction

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This procedure repairs your knee after a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament, commonly called the ACL. This ligament is in the center of the knee and helps anchor the femur to the tibia. This surgery can allow you to regain normal knee function.  In preparation for the procedure you are anesthetized. The surgeon creates a small incision in the front of the knee. This exposes the patellar tendon, a thick band of tissue attached to your kneecap. The surgeon removes a portion of this tendon and some bone where it is attached. This tissue is called a graft and it will be used to replace your damaged ACL.

Next, the surgeon creates a series of small openings in your skin. An arthroscope is placed through one of the openings. This is a viewing device which allows the surgeon to see inside the knee. More surgical instruments are placed through one of the other openings. The damaged ACL is removed. Using a guide pin, the surgeon carefully drills a tunnel through the tibia and femur. The new graft is pulled through this tunnel and into the position your ACL once occupied. The ends of the graft are anchored and over time new tissue will grow along the graft strengthening the joint.

When the procedure is complete, the openings in your skin are closed. Your knee is bandaged to be placed in a post-operative brace or a splint. You will be monitored for a brief time before you are allowed to go home. Your health care provider will give you instructions to help your recovery and schedule you for physical therapy.

To learn more about the ACL, go to our library.

Please watch this informational video about the ACL in the knee.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, go to: or call 904-858-7045

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