ACL Reconstruction: What to Expect and Tips for a Successful Recovery

Posted on: 4 March 2024


ACL reconstruction surgery can be a daunting prospect, but with the right information and preparation, you can have a smooth recovery and get back to your active lifestyle in no time. This post will discuss what to expect before, during, and after ACL reconstruction surgery, as well as provide tips for a successful recovery.

Preparing for Surgery:

Before your ACL reconstruction surgery, your doctor will go over the procedure with you and answer any questions you may have. You may be required to undergo some pre-operative tests, such as bloodwork and EKG, to ensure you are healthy enough for surgery. It is important to follow any pre-surgery instructions given to you, such as fasting before the procedure and stopping certain medications. Make sure to also arrange for someone to drive you home after the surgery, as you will not be able to drive yourself.

The Surgery:

ACL reconstruction surgery is usually done under general anesthesia, meaning you will be completely asleep during the procedure. The surgeon will make a small incision in your knee and use a graft (usually taken from your hamstring or patellar tendon) to replace the torn ACL. The entire procedure usually takes a couple of hours. Following the surgery, you will be transferred to a recovery area for close monitoring as you regain consciousness from anesthesia.

Post-Operative Care:

After the surgery, your knee will be placed in a brace to keep it stable, and you may be given crutches to help you walk. You will also need to ice your knee and keep it elevated to reduce swelling. Physical therapy will be a crucial part of your recovery, as it will help you regain strength and range of motion in your knee. Your physical therapist will work with you to create an exercise program tailored to your needs and will monitor your progress throughout your recovery.

Recovery Timeline:

Recovery from ACL reconstruction surgery can vary from person to person, but generally, it takes several months to fully recover. During the first few weeks, you will focus on reducing swelling and regaining motion in your knee. As you progress, you will work on strengthening the muscles around your knee to support it. It is important to follow your physical therapist's instructions and not push yourself too hard, as this can delay your recovery.

Returning to Activity:

As you near the end of your recovery, your physical therapist will work with you to gradually reintroduce sports and other activities back into your routine. It is important to listen to your body and not rush back into high-impact activities too soon. It may take up to a year before you can fully return to activities like running, jumping, and cutting. Remember that everyone's recovery is different, so be patient with yourself and celebrate each milestone along the way.

Contact a local service provider to learn more, like Shelbourne Knee Center.