ACL Reconstruction

This page provides information about an ACL reconstruction. Please contact your GP or healthcare professional for further information.

ACL or anterior cruciate ligament

Located in the knee joint, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) plays the important role of providing stability. Rupturing or tearing of the ACL can lead to the knee collapsing or giving way when making turning or twisting movements.


Why has my ACL ruptured?

An ACL rupture is often the result of a twisting injury, particularly a sports injury. Other areas of the knee can also sustain injury at the same time, these include damage to the surface of the joints and cartilage tears.

How can surgery benefit an ACL rupture?

A successful ACL reconstruction may prevent your knee from collapsing in future and enable you to become more active. You may also be able to resume previous sporting activities.

Is there an alternative to surgery?

Along with thigh muscle strengthening exercises from your physiotherapist to improve co-ordination, a knee brace worn during sporting activities can help.

What happens during the operation?

Reconstruction of the ACL usually takes around an hour to an hour and a half. Various anaesthetic techniques are possible.

The surgeon will make one or more cuts around your knee area and may choose to use keyhole surgery. This is known as an arthroscopy and uses a camera to look inside the knee.

Your ruptured ACL will be replaced with an appropriate piece of tissue from another area of your body. Its ends will be fixed into place using special screws or anchors in drilled holes in the bone.

What complications should I know about?

General complications:

• Scarring
• Infection of the surgical site (wound)
• Bleeding
• Difficulty passing urine
• Pain
• Blood clots

Specific complications:

• The knee keeps giving way
• Break of the kneecap
• Loss of knee movement
• Damage to nerves around the knee
• Infection in the knee joint
• Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of the knee (complex regional knee syndrome)
• Discomfort in the front of the knee

What is the recovery time?

You should be able to return home on the same day or the day after the operation is performed.

Your surgeon may suggest that you wear a knee brace for several weeks after the reconstruction.

A period of intensive physiotherapy treatment, which can last up to six months, is recommended as your knee begins to settle down.

To help return to your normal daily activities quickly, regular exercise is recommended.

Before you start exercising, it is best to seek advice from your GP or healthcare professional.

Your knee is unlikely to ever be as good as it was before your injury occurred.

Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction summary

An ACL reconstruction offers the chance to improve stability if your knee persistently gives way following an ACL rupture. It can aid everyday activities and help you to play certain sports that may not be feasible without it.

We look forward to hearing from you to discuss your needs and see how we can get you the best treatment, quickly and affordably.

Please contact us for further information about treatments not listed here

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