Should I get autograft or allograft for AC joint surgery?

Q. For AC joint surgery, should I get autograft or allograft?

Answered by
Dr. Rahul Goel
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 20, 2016 and last reviewed on: May 23, 2023

Hi doctor,

I got my AC joint separated while mountain biking. It is grade 5. I am getting surgery and I want to know whether I should use an autograft (hamstring) or an allograft from a cadaver. I am very active in outdoor adventures and sports.

Thanks for your help.



Welcome to

I am sorry to hear about your injury. The good news is that there are many modalities available for AC joint injuries (acromioclavicular joint), which are showing promising results.

Type five injuries constitute tears of the two important ligaments in the shoulder regions that are the coracoclavicular and acromioclavicular ligaments. This is associated with collar bone dislocation as well as muscle injury. A double ligament injury makes the AC joint unstable and needs surgical correction. The surgical options available are generally as follows.

1. An open reduction internal fixation is done. In this procedure the shoulder joint will be cut open and the collar bone (clavicle) is realigned. The torn ligaments will be reconstructed with either the patient's own local tissue or cadaveric ligaments (allografts).

2. Both the type of grafts have similar performance, however the allografts are preferred. Because, there is no donor site operation involved. They are of sufficient length to be looped around the coracoid joint and over the collar bone.

3. Autografts (hamstrings) are used only if a patient feels strongly against having a foreign object implanted in his or her body and is willing to accept the extra operation required to harvest the hamstring tendon.

4. In your case, I would suggest you contact your doctor and have a detailed discussion with him before deciding the type of graft that would suit your needs most.

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