An anterior cruciate ligament injury is the over-stretching or tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee. A tear may be partial or complete.
Treatment of ACL tears may be operative or non-operative. In most instances during the immediate aftermath of the injury, the patient is advised to stay off the leg and elevate it, apply ice, and take medication, such as ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation. A course of physical therapy is prescribed to strengthen surrounding muscles, and a brace may be fitted for use during activities that would place special stress on the knee.
If you are experiencing pain in your knee see our Questions and Answers section and contact Dr. Pagnani for a consultation.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
How long does the procedure last?
The operation to recontruct a torn ACL generally takes between 60 and 100 minutes in our hands.
Will I have to go under general anesthesia?
Yes. The general is also supplemented by a nerve block to help reduce pain when you wake up.
Will I have to stay in the hospital overnight?
No. ACL surgery is now performed on an outpatient basis.
What will the aftercare be?
You will be in a brace for 4-5 weeks after surgery. You can plan to be on crutches for about a week. You may remove your bandage 48 hours after surgery. After the initial bandage has been removed, you may shower.
How long will I be in physical therapy?
Therapy will begin 2-4 days after surgery and is generally continued for about 6 weeks after surgery. Once therapy is completed, you will have to continue strengthening exercises at a gym or health club for another 3-6 months.
How long will I be out of work?
You can expect to be out of work for at least 2 weeks after surgery to reconstruct the ACL. You may be out for a longer period of time if your work requires heavy lifting, working at heights, running or jumping.
How long until I can resume normal activities?
After an ACL reconstruction, most patients can resume normal activities (except for cutting and jumping sports) at about 6 weeks after surgery.
How long before I can play sports?
Jogging is usually permitted at 6 weeks after surgery. Golf is allowed at 3 months. Generally, 41/2 to 6 months are required before athletes can return to aggressive cutting sports such as football, soccer and basketball after an ACL reconstruction.