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The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a ligament in the middle of your knee that connects the front of shin bone thigh bones to the back of your thigh bone and helps to stabilise the knee. Tears (or ruptures) to this ligament can occur when making sharp twists and turns, causing the knee to ‘give way’ or collapse. An ACL repair stitches the damaged ligament back together.

What is an ACL repair or reconstruction?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the important ligaments that stabilise your knee joint. If you have torn (ruptured) this ligament, the knee can feel unstable and twisting or turning movements will become difficult. An ACL rupture generally happens as a result of an injury to the knee. The repair or reconstruction surgery of ACL is a procedure that can help stabilise your knee and prevent further damage, resulting in a qualitative lifestyle.  

At Nuffield Health, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, our experienced team of orthopaedic consultants will perform a full examination. This includes imaging to determine the extent of your injury;  they may recommend surgery if it does not respond to conservative treatment. 

What are the benefits of an ACL repair or reconstruction? 

The objectives of this surgery are to repair or replace with a healthy one the injured ligament, improve pain and function of the knee allowing you to in time return to normal activities. 

Is an ACL reconstruction right for me? 

Your consultant will determine if your injury requires surgery or not after performing a series of imaging scans and physical assessment. Depending on the severity of the injury some can be managed conservatively however, some injuries require surgery. 

What happens during and after procedure? 

An ACL repair or reconstruction is usually performed under general anaesthetic. You will meet one of our expert anaesthetists prior to the operation and you will be advised on what is the best option for you if you never had anaesthesia before. 

Most surgeons perform the operation by arthroscopy (‘keyhole’ surgery) using a camera to see inside the knee. Your surgeon will replace the ACL with suitable tissue (a graft) from elsewhere in the body. At the end of the procedure the consultant will leave you to the excellent care of our dedicated nursing staff in the recovery room and the ward. 


Our team of specialist physiotherapists will provide expert treatment, rehabilitation and advice during your hospital stay and, if appropriate, follow-up as an outpatient to support your full recovery. 

Short-term recovery 

The length of your hospital stay will be discussed with your consultant prior surgery. Any other concerns you may have will also be addressed so you can have a safe and fast recovery.  

You will be discharged home once you are able to mobilise safely and deemed medically fit. 

Long-term recovery 

Your recovery will be guided by our team of expert physiotherapists and regular follow up consultations with your surgeon and nurse specialist will be scheduled. 

Returning to competitive sport after an ACL reconstruction or repair surgery can take up to nine months post-surgery, and only if certain performance milestones have been met. Your consultant and physiotherapist will be able to advise you depending on the damage repaired and recovery progress. 

Find out more about Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair consultants at Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew's Hospital

Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew's Hospital

38 Giltspur Street, London, EC1A 7BS

020 3386 9000

There are several bus stops within walking distance of the hospital. The closest rail and tube stations are City Thameslink - 5 min walk, Barbican - 5 min walk, Elizabeth line at Farringdon - 3 min walk. Car parking is available in Smithfield Car Park nearby.

Hospital switchboard 020 3386 9000
General enquiries 0300 131 1433
Outpatients enquiries 0300 131 1432
Physiotherapy enquiries 020 3386 9002
Payments enquiries 0330 460 0099

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