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Frequently Asked Questions About ACL Reconstruction Surgery

Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament

An ACL tear can be a painful and oftentimes debilitating injury. The prospect of undergoing surgery to reconstruct a torn ACL often provokes many questions and concerns among patients. These questions range from whether surgery is necessary, to what type of surgery should be performed, to concerns about recovery time. In this blog, the fellowship-trained knee specialists at NY Orthopedics’ Knee Center will provide answers to all of these topics.


In what cases can ACL reconstruction surgery be avoided?

ACL tears don’t heal well on their own, however, there are some cases where non-surgical treatment may be the most appropriate treatment for a particular patient. Patients who are older or less active and who have significant arthritis may be better served by a rehabilitation program than surgery.


Who is a candidate for ACL reconstruction surgery?

ACL reconstruction is the best treatment option for active patients. This is particularly true for athletes, especially those who play sports that require pivoting. If you are still experiencing knee instability after completing a rehabilitation program, or if you have injured more than one knee ligament, ACL reconstruction surgery may be recommended. For these types of patients, the likelihood of re-injuring the knee is higher, which is why proper reconstruction and healing are so critical.


What types of ACL reconstruction surgery are available and which option is the best?

There are many different types of reconstructive surgery for an ACL tear. The surgery involves replacing the damaged tendon with tendon taken from another place, a source called a tendon graft. This can be achieved by using donor tendon from a tissue bank (allograft graft) or by using portions of your own tendon, removed from your patellar tendon (bone-patellar tendon-bone graft), your hamstrings (hamstring graft), your quadriceps muscle (quadriceps graft), or a combination thereof.


Each type of surgery has advantages and disadvantages, and the most appropriate option depends not just on the specifics of your injury, but on the type of graft, methods of securing the graft, and rehabilitation protocols. Your orthopedic surgeon will recommend the best option for you based on your individual needs and these various factors. Ultimately, a surgeon’s extensive experience with the chosen technique and a patient’s commitment to the rehabilitation program are two of the most important factors in a successful outcome.


How long will recovery take after ACL reconstruction surgery?

While recovery time varies from person to person, ACL reconstruction surgery typically means a recovery period of several months up to a year. You'll need to commit to a rehabilitation program to ensure a proper recovery. Rehabilitation focuses first on restoring range of motion and then on strengthening. If you're an athlete, the final phase of your recovery will include some sport-specific exercises.


Learn More About ACL Reconstruction Surgery in NYC

The goal of ACL surgery is to restore stability to your knee and bring you back to the level of function you had before the injury. If left untreated, an ACL injury may lead to serious loss of function and mobility, and even degeneration and damage to other knee structures.

If you've suffered from an ACL tear, our experienced team of knee specialists is here to help you on your road to recovery. Schedule a consultation at NY Orthopedics today to get more details about ACL reconstruction surgery and to have your additional questions answered. In the meantime, you can learn more about ACL reconstruction surgery by heading over to our Video Learning Center to watch animated videos that explain the various procedure options.

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