Knee surgery (ACL repair)
The anterior cruciate ligament is replaced with a piece of suitable tissue from elsewhere in the body.
What is the anterior cruciate ligament?
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 collapse or ‘give way’ when making twisting or turning movements.
How does an ACL rupture happen?
An ACL rupture happens as a result of a twisting injury to the knee. The common causes are football and skiing injuries. You can injure other parts of your knee at the same time, such as tearing a cartilage or damaging the joint surface.
What happens during ACL reconstruction?
ACL reconstruction is normally performed under general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes between an hour and an hour and a half. Your surgeon will make one or more cuts on the front and sides of your knee. Some surgeons perform the operation by arthroscopy (‘keyhole’ surgery) using a camera to see inside the knee. Your surgeon will replace the ACL with a piece of suitable tissue (a graft) from elsewhere in the body. The top and bottom ends of the replacement ligament are fixed with special screws or anchors into ‘tunnels’ drilled in the bone.
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home the same day or the day after. Before you are discharged a physiotherapist will give you gentle exercises to help in your recovery.
Your surgeon may want you to wear a knee brace for a few weeks after the operation. Once your knee is settling down you will need to start regular physiotherapy treatment that may continue for as long as six months. Complete recovery can take up to nine months.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
Most people make a good recovery and return to normal activities following ACL reconstruction. As with any surgery there can be complications.
General complications of any operation:
- Infection in the surgical wound
- Unsightly scarring
- Blood clots (DVT)
- Difficulty passing urine
Specific complications of ACL reconstruction:
- Break of the kneecap
- Damage to nerves around the knee
- Infection in the knee joint
- Discomfort in the front of the knee
- Loss of knee movement
- Recurrent giving way of the knee
- Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of the knee (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)
67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW
Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH
Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX
3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN
4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF
Cardiff Bay Hospital, Dunleavey Drive, Cardiff, CF11 0SN
Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, GL51 6SY
Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP
78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB
Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN
Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG
25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ
Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF
Burrell Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1UD
Venns Lane, Hereford, HR1 1DF
Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW
2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB
Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY
Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP
Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 4DB
Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP
Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG
Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP
Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN
Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX
Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL
Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW
Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE
Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA
Our prices are all-inclusive. We will equal any comparable price. There are no time limits on your aftercare.
Get in touch
Fill in an enquiry form below or call us
A member of the team will respond to you soon.