Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Surgery
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Surgery?

This is surgery to reconstruct the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee after it is torn. Often, a graft made of tendon is used to reconstruct the torn ligament.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury
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ACL surgery is an elective procedure. This means that surgery is not always necessary; it may depend on your lifestyle and age. The decision to have surgery should be made after talking to your doctor about:

  • Your athletic and occupational needs
  • The level of joint stability in your knee
  • Any other damage to the knee

Surgery may be recommended if you have:

  • A complete tear of the ACL
  • A high degree of joint instability
  • Injury to the knee that affects more than one ligament
  • A need to return to sports or other activities that require pivoting, turning, or sharp movements
  • No improvement with rehabilitative therapy

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have ACL surgery, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Instability of the knee (rupture or stretching of the new ligament)
  • Reconstructed ACL does not work properly
  • Kneecap pain after surgery
  • Stiffness in the knee
  • Loss of full range of motion
  • Numbness
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clot formation
  • Reaction to anesthesia

Discuss these risks with your doctor before the surgery.

Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital, call your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site