An ACL injury is the tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament — one of the major ligaments in your knee. ACL injuries most commonly occur during sports that involve sudden stops, jumping or changes in direction. ACL surgery s usually done by making small incisions in the knee and inserting instruments for surgery through these incisions (arthroscopic surgery). In some cases, it is done by cutting a large incision in the knee (open surgery). The goal of ACL surgery is to restore normal or almost normal stability in the knee and the level of function you had before the knee injury, limit loss of function in the knee, and prevent injury or degeneration to other knee structures.
Not all ACL tears require surgery. Following are possible reason why to have surgery and why not:
You may want to consider surgery if you:
- Have completely torn your ACL or have a partial tear and your knee is very unstable.
- Have gone through a rehab program and your knee is still unstable.
- Are very active in sports or have a job that requires knee strength and stability, and you want your knee to be as strong and stable as it was before your injury.
- Are willing to complete a long and rigorous rehab program.
- Have chronic ACL deficiency – when your knee is unstable and affecting your quality of life.
- Have injured other parts of your knee or other knee ligaments or tendons.
You may want to consider other options if you:
- Have a minor tear in your ACL.
- Are not very active in sports and/or your work does not require a stable knee.
- Are willing to stop doing activities that require a stable knee or stop doing them at the same level of intensity.
- Can complete a rehab program that stabilizes your knee and strengthens your leg muscles to reduce the chances that you will injure your knee again and are willing to live with a small amount of knee instability.
- Do not feel motivated to complete the long and rigorous rehab program necessary after surgery.
- You have medical problems that make surgery too risky.
Dr. Larsen is an expert in ACL repair. If you are wondering if you should have surgery or not, he would be happy to give his opinion and help you get back to having a strong knee.
Mayo Clinic Staff Print. “ACL injury.” Overview – ACL injury – Mayo Clinic. N.p., 12 Jan. 2017. Web. 11 Feb. 2017.
“Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Surgery.” WebMD. WebMD, 4 Aug. 2015. Web. 11 Feb. 2017.