Will You Need an Operation for an ACL Tear?

ACL Surgery

The decision as to whether or not to operate on an ACL tear is dependent on several factors. Some patients who experience ACL tears can resume normal daily activities without surgical reconstruction of this ligament. There are some important factors to consider in deciding as to whether or not operative treatment of an ACL tear is needed. These factors include the age of the patient, the activity level of the patient (both recreational and occupational), the expectations of the patient, the ability and willingness of the patient to undertake postoperative rehabilitation. Plus, the degree of instability of the joint, and any other associated injuries to the knee (e.g. other ligamentous or meniscal problems).

What is the Surgical Treatment for ACL Reconstruction?

ACL reconstruction is usually not performed until several weeks after the injury. Studies have shown improved results when ACL reconstruction surgery is delayed several weeks from the time of injury. This time allows the inflamed and irritated knee to cool down. Swelling decreases, inflammation subsides, and range of motion improves. Resolution of swelling and stiffness before ACL reconstruction surgery improves the postoperative function of the joint.

Can the ACL be Repaired?

ACL reconstruction surgery is common, and improperly, referred to as an ACL repair. Unfortunately, a torn ACL cannot be “repaired.” Rather, the torn ligament’s replacement is healthy graft tissue. It is not possible to repair the torn ACL by simply reconnecting the torn ends.

How is the ACL Reconstruction Performed?

The surgical procedure for an ACL reconstruction is variable but commonly involves using a segment of another larger ligament or tendon to replace the damaged ACL.

The graft options for ACL reconstruction include:

Hamstring Tendons
Patellar Ligament
Peroneus longus tendon
Allograft (Donor Tissue)
The ACL reconstruction surgery lasts about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on the graft choice and any other work that may need to be done in the knee joint. Your physiotherapist will coordinate your postoperative rehabilitation and guidance.

What to do if have a Ruptured ACL?

We highly recommend professional medical for an ACL tear. Successful rehabilitation options vary depending on your age, activity level and extent of the injury.

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