Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Surgery

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair is done to reconstruct the ACL in the knee after it is torn. Often, a graft made of tendon is used to reconstruct the torn ligament.

  • Call Your Doctor

    After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
    • Swelling, pain, or heat in your calves
    • Pain cannot be controlled with medications given
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
    • Numbness in the knee area
    • New or worsening symptoms

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    Anterior cruciate ligament
    (ACL) repair is done to reconstruct the 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
    ACL injury
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  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    ACL surgery is an elective procedure. This means that surgery is not always necessary; it may depend on your lifestyle and age.

    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

    Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

    • Infection
    • Excess bleeding
    • Blood clots
    • Reaction to anesthesia
    • The operation does not provide the desired improvement in function
    • Instability of the knee
    • Numbness or stiffness in the knee
    • Kneecap pain after surgery

    Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:

    • Smoking
    • Drinking
    • Chronic disease such as diabetes or obesity