What to Expect During Your ACL Reconstruction Surgery

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If you've experienced a torn ACL in your knee, chances are your doctor has recommended ACL reconstruction surgery to help restore stability and function to your knee. While the thought of undergoing surgery may seem daunting, understanding what to expect can help ease your concerns. This article will outline the key aspects of ACL reconstruction surgery to give you a better understanding of the procedure.


Prior to your surgery, your doctor will give you specific instructions to adhere to. These guidelines may encompass fasting for a designated period beforehand and discontinuing medications that may impede the surgical procedure. It is crucial to diligently comply with these instructions to guarantee a safe and prosperous surgery.


During ACL reconstruction surgery, you will be placed under either general anesthesia or regional anesthesia. General anesthesia will put you to sleep throughout the entire procedure, while regional anesthesia will numb the lower part of your body, allowing you to remain awake without feeling any pain.

Incisions and Graft Placement:

The surgeon will make several small incisions around your knee to access the damaged ligament. First, they will remove the torn ACL and any other debris from the area. Then, a graft will be used to replace the damaged ligament. The graft can come from various sources, including your own tissue (autograft) or from a donor (allograft). Your surgeon will discuss the best option for you based on your specific needs.

Tunnel Creation:

In order to place the graft in the appropriate position, the surgeon will create tunnels in the bone of your lower thigh (femur) and upper shin (tibia). These tunnels serve as anchors for the new ligament and will be secured with screws or other fixation devices.

Closure and Recovery:

Once the graft is in place, the surgeon will close the incisions with sutures or staples. You will then be taken to the recovery room, where you will be monitored closely as you wake up from anesthesia. Pain management will be provided to keep you comfortable during this time.

Post-Operative Care:

After ACL reconstruction surgery, you will need to follow a rehabilitation program to regain strength and function in your knee. This may include physical therapy exercises, range of motion exercises, and gradual return to activities. Your surgeon will provide specific instructions based on your progress and goals.

Potential Risks and Complications:

As with any surgery, ACL reconstruction carries some risks. These can include infection, blood clots, pain, and limited range of motion. It's important to discuss these potential risks with your surgeon beforehand and follow all post-operative instructions to minimize the chance of complications.

In conclusion, ACL reconstruction surgery is a commonly recommended treatment for a torn ACL. By understanding the different stages of the surgery and adhering to the post-operative care plan, you can increase the likelihood of a successful recovery. Remember to consult with your doctor for personalized advice and guidance throughout the process.

For more information on ACL reconstruction surgery, contact a professional near you.