ACL injuries: Surgery

Orthopedic surgeons perform between 100,000 and 200,000 ACL reconstructions each year in the United States. Most of these people are athletes or active people. Who actually needs surgery, and what does surgery involve?

Surgery to treat a torn ACL is more complex than simply sewing it back together. In fact, trying to sew it back together – an ACL repair – doesn’t work. The surgeon must make a new ligament – an ACL reconstruction.

In this video, I explain what an ACL reconstruction is. What does the surgeon do in the procedure? I also further explain who can benefit from ACL surgery so you can decide for yourself if it is worth undergoing surgery and the months of rehab.

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Have you had ACL surgery? How did it go for you? What was the actual surgery like? I would love to read your experience below!

Also read:
Graft choices for ACL surgery
Arthroscopic knee surgery: What you need to know

Please remember, while I appreciate your questions, I cannot and will not offer specific medical advice by email, online, on my show, or in the comments at the end of these posts. My responses are meant to provide general medical information and education. Please consult your physician or health care provider for your specific medical concerns.

One Response to ACL injuries: Surgery

  1. I had a hamstring graft ACL reconstruction at 25 years old. A month or so after the surgery I was getting into a car and felt a little pop. Not painful at all, just weird. I called my surgeon’s office to let them know and nothing was ever made of it. 10 years later at 35 years old I started to notice my leg was crooked. The leg that I had the surgery on was starting to look knock kneed. I saw a orthopedic doctor and was essentially blown off. 4 years later I saw a different orthopedic doctor who sent me for an MRI. My ACL graft was torn and both meniscus were torn. I had surgery to remove the torn meniscus and ACL graft. My surgery leg is so crooked now I can hardly do stairs and get in out out of vehicles. I have stage 4 osteoarthritis and one side of my knee is bone on bone. I’m now having a total joint knee replacement at 40 years old in the next 6-8 weeks. For those having an ACL reconstruction, if you feel anything funny after surgery, like a pop or a rubber band that breaks, insist that your surgeon look into it. Otherwise you will be headed down the same road as me.

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david-headshot I am an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, South Carolina.

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