Understanding and Addressing ACL Injuries

The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of the most commonly injured ligaments in the knee. Running diagonally through the middle of the joint, the ACL works together with three other ligaments to connect the femur (upper leg bone) to the tibia (lower leg bone). An injury to this ligament causes the knee to become unstable and the joint to slide forward too much. ACL injuries occur most often in athletes as a result of direct contact, landing awkwardly after a fall, or playing recklessly. About half of all ACL injuries are accompanied by damage to the meniscus, cartilage, bone, or other ligaments in the knee.

rugby player holding their knee

What is ACL reconstruction?

ACL Reconstruction is a surgical procedure performed to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee, a common injury among athletes and other physically active individuals. The ACL is crucial for knee stability and movement. During the reconstruction, the damaged ligament is replaced with a graft, typically from the patient's own body (autograft) or from a donor (allograft).

This procedure restores stability and function to the knee, allowing patients to return to high levels of physical activity. The surgery will include a rehabilitation program to rebuild strength and mobility. ACL reconstruction is an advanced orthopaedic technique offering renewed hope and capability to those who have suffered a debilitating knee injury.

What are the signs of an ACL injury?

Signs that you may have injured your ACL include pain, swelling, and instability immediately after the injury, followed hours later by more significant swelling and pain, limited motion, tenderness, and an inability to walk comfortably. While not all ACL injuries will require surgery, leaving the ligament torn or damaged puts the patient at risk for recurring episodes of knee instability. It may also increase the likelihood of developing tissue damage or arthritis over time.

In many cases, patients will not be able to resume high-level athletic activity without surgery. Your doctor will determine whether or not surgery is recommended for you after a thorough evaluation of your condition, as well as consideration of your age, activity level, and overall health. The details, risks, and benefits of surgery, as well as various options, will be discussed during a pre-surgical consultation.

What is the procedure?

ACL reconstruction is usually not performed until several weeks after the injury, when swelling and inflammation have reduced. The torn ligament is completely removed and replaced with a new ACL. Simply reconnecting the torn ends cannot repair the ACL. Part of another ligament, usually in the knee or hamstring, is used to create a graft for a new ACL. Choosing the proper type of graft depends on your unique condition.

Background media

What to expect in ACL reconstruction surgery?

General anesthesia is typically administered for ACL surgery. During the procedure, an incision is made to access the knee before the surgeon drills holes in the upper and lower leg bones to insert the graft and ensure stable, permanent support within the joint. The graft may be attached with screws or staples before incisions are closed. This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis.

Arthroscopic ACL reconstruction: A minimally invasive approach to knee surgery

In many cases, this procedure can be performed using arthroscopic techniques, which involves creating a few small incisions in the knee, into which a camera and tiny surgical instruments are inserted. Saline is injected into the knee to allow for more operating space. The surgeon then performs the repair while viewing the knee on a monitor to ensure precise results. Arthroscopy has the benefit of less scarring, a shorter recovery time, and less physical trauma.

Logo media

Schedule Your Appointment Regain Your Mobility & Lifestyle

(888) 359-1833 Contact Us
Contact us media

What is the recovery time after ACL reconstruction surgery?

Following ACL reconstruction surgery, you can return home after a few hours of observation. You will likely experience pain, bruising, and swelling after surgery, which can be managed easily with prescription pain medication. You will need to wear a knee brace for the first several weeks post-surgery. Some patients require crutches in the early phase of healing. Your recovery will vary depending on the type of procedure performed and your condition.

Physical therapy begins immediately after the surgery and may continue for several months to help you return to activity with the reconstructed knee. In order to achieve the most effective results from surgery, patients must commit to a long-term rehabilitation program. After completion, you should return to the previous knee function, along with stability of the joint, with long-term results.

Why choose New York Sports & Joints for ACL reconstruction surgery?

Choose our clinic for your ACL reconstruction and benefit from our team of elite, board-certified orthopaedic surgeons. With advanced training from top institutions, they excel in cutting-edge knee surgeries and successful outcomes. Our comprehensive care approach includes personalized rehabilitation programs for a faster and more effective recovery. We prioritize patient education and support, ensuring you are fully informed and comfortable throughout your treatment journey. Trust us for expert care that gets you back to doing what you love.

older man on a run

ACL Reconstruction FAQ

Are there any risks associated with ACL Reconstruction?

As with any surgery, ACL Reconstruction carries certain risks, such as infection, blood clots, and graft failure. However, these risks are relatively low. Other potential issues include stiffness or loss of full range of motion in the knee and, in some cases, a need for additional surgery. The surgeon will discuss these risks prior to the procedure to ensure informed decision-making.

What is the recovery time for ACL Reconstruction?

The recovery time following ACL Reconstruction varies, typically ranging from six months to a year. The initial weeks focus on reducing swelling and regaining range of motion, followed by progressive strengthening exercises. Full return to sports or high-demand activities often occurs after the knee regains sufficient strength and stability under the guidance of a physical therapist.

How successful is ACL Reconstruction?

ACL Reconstruction has a high success rate, with most patients returning to their pre-injury levels of activity. Success depends on several factors, including the quality of the surgical procedure, the type of graft used, and the patient's adherence to rehabilitation protocols. Post-surgery, most individuals experience restored knee stability and a significant reduction in pain and discomfort.

Schedule Your Appointment Have Confidence in Your Future

Contact Us
Contact us media
Accessibility: If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact our Accessibility Manager at (888) 359-1833.
Contact Us