What is ACL reconstruction?

What is ACL reconstruction?

ACL Reconstruction

ACL repair is surgery to replace an anterior torn cruciate (KROO-she-ate) ligament (ACL) — an important knee ligament. It’s accidents most often occur during activities involving sudden stops and lateral changes.

The doctors remove the damaged ligament in ACL reconstruction and replace it by a piece of tendon from another section of the knee or a deceased donor.

  • The ligament most frequently broken inside the knee is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • The ACL usually prevents the shin bone from slipping forward
  • An ACL breakage can cause the knee to feel wobbly and give way
  • ACL breakage may be managed with knee replacement surgeon to compensate for the damaged ligament by strengthening the knee supporting muscles
  • Patients with ongoing weakness should have the ligament repaired surgically
  • Intensive physiotherapist supervised recovery after ACL reconstruction is important
  • ACL rehabilitation outcomes are outstanding, with up to 90 percent of patients returning to full or almost complete sporting activities

This surgery is an outpatient operation that doctors do around your knee joint through tiny incisions.

Ligaments are strong tissue bands that connect one bone with another. The ACL — one of two knee-crossing ligaments — connects your thighbone (femur) to the shinbone ( tibia) and helps to support knee joint

Many ACL injuries that can place stress on the knee occur during sports and fitness activities:

  • Slowing suddenly and changing course (cutting)
  • Pivoting with the firmly planted foot
  • Failing to land from a hop
  • Then stop unexpectedly
  • Receiving immediate knee blow

Typically, doctors use general anesthesia for ACL reconstruction, so you can feel relax during the procedure. Typically, doctors perform ACL reconstruction by small incisions — one carrying a thin, tube-like video camera (arthroscope) and another allowing access to the joint space through surgical instruments.

What Happens During The ACL Surgery?

Your surgeon will remove the weak ligament and then replace it with a tendon fragment. This replacement tissue is a graft and comes from another section of the leg, or from a deceased donor’s tendon.

The surgeon will dig holes or tunnels into the thighbone and shinbone to position the graft correctly, which they seal with screws or other fasteners to the bones. The graft will serve as a scaffolding on which new tissue in the ligament can develop.


After an ACL surgery, progressive physical therapy helps to strengthen the muscles around your knee and improve flexibility. A physical therapist instructs you about how to do activities that you can do either with continuous guidance or at home. It is necessary to follow the recovery plan to achieve proper healing and the best possible outcomes.

Follow your surgeon’s instructions as to when to ice your knee, how long to use crutches, and what weight on your knee is healthy to use. They also suggest when to have a shower or a bath. When to change dressings on the wound, and how to administer post-surgery treatment.