ACL Reconstruction

What is ACL Reconstruction?

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction (also known as ACL Reconstruction) is a common surgical procedure which is performed when the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee is ruptured.

ACL Reconstruction is usually done through arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery. This means that it is minimally invasive and only requires a small incision to be made. ACL Reconstruction has low complication rates and the outcomes are generally positive.

Why Do I Need an ACL Reconstruction?

Your South Coast Orthopaedic surgeon will recommend an ACL Reconstruction if you have torn your anterior cruciate ligament. The ACL is a sturdy ligament that runs from the femur to the tibia and through the centre of the knee. When this ligament ruptures it does not heal and leads to knee instability. The aim of ACL Reconstruction is to restore stability to the knee.

ACL ruptures most commonly occur during sports or activities that involve overextending or twisting the knee. The ACL can rupture as a result of:
  • Landing incorrectly after a jump
  • Changing direction too quickly
  • Slowing down while running
  • Slowing down while running

What happens during an ACL Reconstruction?

ACL Reconstruction procedures are performed under general anaesthetic. During the procedure your surgeon will make two small cuts around your knee. A thin metal tube with a tiny video camera is inserted into your knee joint. A sterile solution will also be pumped into the joint to help the surgeon get a clear view.

ACL Reconstruction procedures are performed under general anaesthetic. During the procedure your surgeon will make two small cuts around your knee. A thin metal tube with a tiny video camera is inserted into your knee joint. A sterile solution will also be pumped into the joint to help the surgeon get a clear view.

Recovery from an ACL Reconstruction

ACL Reconstruction has good recovery rates and most patients can eventually return to sports that involve running and twisting. However, during the first week after surgery, your knee will be sore, swollen and stiff and you will need to use crutches for at least a week.

Rehabilitation for an ACL Reconstruction begins within two to four days. You will need to see a physical therapist during this time and they will teach you how to strengthen your leg and knee movement. Full Rehabilitation usually takes six to twelve months, after which, you should be able to return to playing most sports.