ACL Repair / Reconstruction Overview
An ACL repair/reconstruction is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that treats an ACL tear. Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates’ (CONA) knee specialists use the latest surgical techniques and instruments to perform ACL repair/reconstruction procedures. Patients recover quickly and return to activities and sports with minimal to no restrictions.
How is an ACL repair/reconstruction performed?
Outpatient ACL repair/reconstruction is performed under general anesthesia along with a nerve block (shot similar to what you receive at the dentist to make your leg numb). A CONA specialist:
- Removes the torn ACL
- Uses the patient’s hamstring tendons, a portion of the patella tendon, or a cadaver tendon to create a new ACL
- Secures the new ACL to the patient’s knee bones
A sterile dressing is placed over the surgical site and an ACE bandage is wrapped over it. A hinged knee brace set to a locked position is placed on the knee. Total procedure time is 1 ½ to 2 hours.
What conditions can ACL repair/reconstruction treat?
An ACL repair/reconstruction is usually recommended to treat a completely torn ACL. Athletes and active individuals commonly have the procedure and return to sports and physical activities shortly after.
What are ACL repair/reconstruction advantages?
ACL repair/reconstruction is minimally invasive, which means the large knee muscles are not cut and patients:
- Experience less pain
- Respond better to physical therapy
- Recover quicker
- Prevents further knee instability that can tear meniscus and cartilage tissue and lead to arthritis.
What is ACL repair/reconstruction recovery like?
A CONA specialist see the patients about two weeks after surgery. Stitches are taken out and the patient is allowed to move their knee for the first time. Physical therapy starts after the appointment and continues throughout recovery. Patients who are dedicated to therapy recover quickly and receive the best results. Postoperative appointments occur 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months after surgery. Complete recovery takes 6-8 months.