Question for those of you who have had ACL surgery

I recently had an accicent [hit a dog while out for a ride] that resulted in my acl being completely torn. So I'm currently interviewing surgeons. Questions for you've guys that have gone under the knife: did you have the replacement "ligament" taken from your patellar tendon or another muscle, or did you opt for donor tissue from a cadaver? How long was your full recovery time? How "soon" after your surgery were you able to really ride hard off road? Do you guys now use a brace? Did you go into major depression for months and drive everybody crazy like I'm doing? :awww:Thanks guys, your answers are greatly appreciated.

I had mine done by Dr. Gurley at Porter Hostipital on South Downing in Denver and he does tons of ACLs. He also did my both of my sisters ACLs. All 3 of us have loose knee joints. My youngest sister had a minor problem with a broken drill bit that had to be removed later because it was bothering her.

I had the Patella tendon replacement. You can't even see where the cuts were on my leg. I went home and was told to start moving right away. I was out of Physical Therapy in 2 months but I think you need to wait 6 months before doing anything hardcore because the bone needs to heal.

From what I understand, they take a section of bone with the tendon attached, drill a new hole, insert the bone and hold it with a set screw. Pretty cool. Anyway, I wore a custom made brace for quite a while and don't wear it anymore. It's been about 8 years since I had the operation.

Who's dog was it? Are the owners helping to pay for the incident?

Dog belonged to a neighbor. This happened about 1/4 mile from my house. I didn't do the right thing, which would have been to call a cop, roll around on the ground in agony for hours while he got his ass up there and did his thing. I decided to go to a hospital right away instead. So I have no easy legal recourse for getting money out of the owner. The dog ran out of a "hidden" driveway, not the owners driveway. The dog was not on the owners property, not in voice control, etc. I was riding the legal speed on a licensed and insured bike. The owner is a basket case; she's recently divorced, and the state took her kids away from her, so she's a real mess. A few days after the accident, I left a note on her front door to call me. She's living somewhere else now to be near her kids. So she calls me, and I was real nice, apologized for killing her dog. She starts crying. Then I tell her I'm injured. She starts crying harder. I say let's not talk about this over the phone, let's get together. So she say's okay, in a couple days. A couple days never happens. I write an extensive letter, explaining how I really thought that I was not at fault. That I wouldn't mind a little help with the unreimbursed medical expenses [i have insurance, but it won't cover it all]. I explain nicely that I would appreciate it if she did the right thing, that she not run. Well, she has made her choice to run. With all the crap going bad in her life, she has chosen not to own up to this one. It would mean so much to me if she looked me in the eye and said something like "I'm sorry", but it looks like I'm not even gonna get that.

Anyway, I have alot of rage over this that I would love to channel at her, but she's vanished. And I can't ride to blow off the steam.

Thank you for your answers.

That sucks. I'd probably still call the police and file a report. It can't hurt and then at least there is a record. It's not your fault she's irresponsible.

I looked up my doctor and he has moved to Tulsa OK. He did a lot of surgeries on the Nuggets, Avalanche, etc.

I hope you find a doctor you like soon. The quicker you have it done the sooner you'll be back on the bike. One thing he did with me was to wait until all the swelling was gone from the original accident, then operated. He said this allowed for a quicker recovery.

Good luck.

Had ACL done twice. In 92 had patella tendon version and rehab was somewhat a disaster as daughter twisted the knee 5 days later and tore the graph. Anyway I still had to do a year of rehab to rebuild the patella tendon and for bones to heal. I lived and rode with no ACL but finaly needed a joint cleanup. I decided to get ACL fixed at the same time. This time I used a donor graph. This went really well. I was out shoveling snow 5 days later. But the doc wants me to wait a total of 4 months from surgury for the tendon to fully attach to bone (the doner is tendon only not bone-tendon-bone like the patella). For mine the donor was a piece of an achilles tendon. One major advantage of the donor tendon is that it is twice the thickness of the Patella tendon. Both are 3mm wide but donor version is 3mm thick vs. 1.5mm for patella.

It's a tough choice. My recommendation is to live without if you can. If you go for surgury I would coose the donor method.

That sucks. I'd probably still call the police and file a report. It can't hurt and then at least there is a record. It's not your fault she's irresponsible.

I called the cops six days later. They told me it was to late to file a report; they wouldnt do it. And the way he said it was so unsympathetic it pissed me off.

I have an appointment with a doc tomorrow who did my buddies knee and one a week from tomorrow with a doc I allready know from a previous injury. The doc I'm seeing tomorrow rides too!

Thanks guys for your recommendations.


Good luck bro. I know what you are going through as far as the kneee...make sure your doc prescribes you a custom SET of knee braces so when you are up and able you will have protection for the other one as well. As far as the rest of your story...Sounds like karma may be biting her in the ass right now!

Good luck and keep readin the posts..we will be here for ya!


"Live well...ride free" :)

Thanks Machster :) I appreciate the concern and wishes. I will get a set of braces out of this, most likely a pair of CTI2's. I told the dog owner in my letter that if she didn't do the right thing, that this would follow her for a long time [the karma thing]. It does make me wonder [the karma thing] what I did that was so bad that I deserved what I got.

Could be the 2002 DRZ400E ..hmmmm ..I don't think karma counts on a poor bike choice..lmao


"live well...ride free" :)

2003 wr450..all the free mods+ an FMF Q series pipe

Could be the 2002 DRZ400E ..hmmmm ..I don't think karma counts on a poor bike choice..lmao


Oooo, that hurt! :) I like my soft, cushy, underpowered yellow tank! It reminds me of me.

I'm not sure how the CTI2's are. I had an Ortho Tech custom made brace for my leg. They put a cast around you, cut it off, make a mold of your leg and then make the brace around the mold. Thankfully, the insurance company paid for it.

Hey Renegade. I am currently a little over 2 months since my first ever ACL replacement. They used the patella tendon process. I was not sure what if any difference except that I bumped into someone after my surgery who said they had ACL replacement a la cadaver and it did not take so their operation had to be done over again---I can't really speak to that.

But the comment made that the cadaver part is much thicker than patella makes me wonder about how permanent using part of one's own patella is, or what is left of the patella tendon after nabbing part of it for the replacement.

I have not been in the brace for over a month. Just get on a really severe phys therapy schedule and you will like the results.

I have slipped and fallen a few times but have been lucky not to have retorn it...still can't seem to get the careful thing down pat.

Good luck.


Do a search on my user name and you will find several ACL/knee injury threads. I had patellar graft reconstruction in Nov '99 and rode in Feb '00 - it was too soon. If I had it to do over I'd probably opt for a hamstring graft.

Regarding the dead beat dog owner: Your medical insurance will probably go after her. I'm sure you'll be getting a letter asking for the particulars regarding how the injury occured. I got one and had to laugh to myself - I tore mine playing basketball. Ain't no one for my med insurance to go after...


I had my ACL replaced by the Doc. for the Columbus Crew soccer team, Dr. Peter Edwards. He also teaches the surgery at O.S.U. in columbus ohio. His walls at his office are covered with signed jersys of all the pro athletes he has worked on. Did a patela graph,took great. Almost no scar. Tight knee and a MUST for any one getting back into any kind of sporting event. Still a little numb right under the knee cap. Don't worry about the flexability. A good phisical therapist will have you back in about 8 to 12 months. Give it a good year before you take off the knee brace. I wore mine even just walkin. Now I Ski, Golf, Bike, and even a little you know what with the girl friend :)(don't tell my wife)with no problems.

I had mine done on the right knee using petella. it took about 5 months but played football my senior year on it and did fine. do the physical therapy to a T and ICE ICE ICE. I don't wear a brace anymore but did until i got my quad back in shape, it got pretty weak. Had mine done in Colorado springs by a guy named Pfifer. Good luck.

I've got to bump this up... My riding buddy blew out his knee last weekend at an enduro and is awaiting his MRI results.

I tore my ACL coming off a jump (crooked) in 1982.

There was NO ACL repair at that time. I downhill ski'ed and water ski'ed, I jogged and continued to race MX. In 1991 I twisted my knee severely several times while racing mx in AMA Dist 6 (really deep mudded ruts).

I went under the knife 2 months later where the surgeon removed 50% of the cartilage. I had pain after the surgery (I am talking MONTHS after the surgery).

In 1996, my knee started aching constantly. I went into the orthopedic surgeon who informed me I had arthritus. :D

He said live w/ it. I asked for and had the ACL repair. They used my patella tendon donar. That in itself was fairly painful for awhile. I too fell multiple times (on ice) and twisted my knee. I stretched the graph and it was not "hideously bad" as my therapist put it, but it was not good. I made two additional trips to the Orthopedic surgeon to have him check it. He said I was OK, and that the therapist "was not a Dr.". This guy was very conceded and quite the dick.

In January of 1992, I twisted my knee again at work and felt something give. I again went under the knife and had a flap of cartilage removed (like I couldn't afford to lose anymore!) and the arthritus SCRAPED from the bones.

The surgeon informed me later in an astonished tone that I "had the knee of a 70 year old man and it was laced w/ arthritus!" :D:):D.

I am 42.

My point in all of this is to have the surgery done immediately. They may be able to save your cartilage. Talk to the surgeon about the donar graphs, i.e. patella tendon, hamstring tendon, corpse tendon.

Follow your physical therapist advice TO THE LETTER.


Not riding your bike sucks, but rolling around in a wheel chair after your fake knee wears out sucks A LOT worse.

Choose your surgeon carefully. There is one here in Concord, NH who has a bad ACL. I was telling HIM about the new surgery techniques. He was clueless. I couldn't get out of there fast enough!

This guy is a real pro w/ knees. When I have to go again for more work, I WILL be going here. He is on the cutting edge of knee repair.

Kevin Stone @:

I've got to bump this up... My riding buddy blew out his knee last weekend at an enduro and is awaiting his MRI results.

have your friend also check the crf 450, drz 4oo, and ktm forums; I started this same thread in those places and got a wide variety of responses from all those places.

I should mention that all the damage done to my cartilage was due to the instability on the knee due to the lack of ACL.

The 15 years between tearing the ACL and fixing the ACL had quite the toll on my knee.

Did mine last Sept after sticking my leg out to save the bike. Word of advise, let the bike go, its cheaper and faster recovery.

I used my patella, recovery was easy and as perscribed at 8-9 mos. Riding again and all is good :)

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