Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Surgery

Overview

Definition

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair is done to reconstruct the ACL in the knee after it is torn. Often, a graft made of tendon is used to reconstruct the torn ligament.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury
ACL injury
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Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

  • Infection
  • Excess bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • The operation does not provide the desired improvement in function
  • Instability of the knee
  • Numbness or stiffness in the knee
  • Kneecap pain after surgery

Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Chronic disease such as diabetes or obesity

SymptomsandDiagnosis

Treatments

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

RESOURCES

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org 

OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org 

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org 

References

ACL Injury: Does It Require Surgery? American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00297. Updated September 2009. Accessed February 11, 2016.

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 18, 2015. Accessed February 11, 2016.

Anterior cruciate ligament injuries. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00549. Updated March 2014. Accessed February 11, 2016.

Anterior cruciate ligament injuries: treatment and rehabilitation. Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine and Science website. Available at: http://sportsci.org/encyc/aclinj/aclinj.html. Accessed February 11, 2016.

Knee ligament repair. John Hopkins Medicine website. Available at. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test%5Fprocedures/orthopaedic/knee%5Fligament%5Frepair%5F92,P07675/. Accessed February 11, 2016.

6/6/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.