Knee Arthroscopy With ACL Surgery

This surgery uses small instruments and a camera to look inside the knee joint and treat a torn ligament. There may also be a small knee incision.

This surgery uses small instruments and a camera to look inside the knee joint and treat a torn ligament. There may also be a small knee incision.

A knee arthroscopy with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction is a surgery that uses small medical instruments and a camera to look inside the knee joint and reconstruct a torn ligament. The instruments are inserted into the knee joint through small incisions made in different areas of the knee. Depending on the type of ligament surgery, there may also be a small knee incision.

  • The ACL is a ligament in the center of the knee that helps keep the tibia (main bone in the lower leg) aligned with the femur (large bone in your upper leg). A tear in this ligament can cause the knee to “buckle” when twisting or doing other physical activities. Another way of stating this is that your knee joint will become unstable.
  • Not all torn ACL's require surgery. The decision on whether to have surgery depends on many factors that include age, activity level, degree of instability and status of other structures in the knee. You must also be able to participate in a relatively lengthy rehabilitation program after surgery.
  • An ACL reconstruction is surgery to replace the torn ligament with tissue or graft from a donor (allograft) or from your own body (autograft).

If you injury your knee, you may be given some instructions to decrease your symptoms and prevent further injury to the knee joint. These may include:

  • Applying ice
  • Using over-the-counter medications
  • Not putting full weight on your leg
  • Using crutches or a knee immobilizer

Some of the symptoms that may indicate an injury to the ACL include a popping sound at the time of the injury, pain and/or swelling in the knee or instability of the knee joint (buckling).

Prior to surgery, tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over the counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before surgery. These may include:

  • Medications you should not take before the surgery, such as blood thinners
  • Regular medications you should take on the day of your procedure
  • How many hours you should stop eating and drinking before the procedure

If you are a smoker, you should quit smoking, as it can interfere with your recovery.

During your surgery, you will receive anesthesia to keep you comfortable and pain free.

  • General anesthesia is a treatment that includes medicines to put you into a deep sleep. You are unable to see, hear, or feel anything.
  • Spinal anesthesia, which involves an injection of numbing medication into your back. You may also be given a relaxing medication through an IV (a small needle placed in your vein). You will be awake during surgery, but will not feel anything below your waist.

You will probably go home the day of your surgery and will likely need a knee brace and crutches for the first one to four weeks. You may be allowed to move your knee to help prevent stiffness and weakness.

  • Physical therapy is usually recommended after an ACL reconstruction. This will help get your knee back to normal strength and mobility.
  • You may also need pain medication and help at home while you recover.
  • Do not forget to arrange for transportation to and from the facility.

What should I ask my healthcare provider before having an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction?

  • What is my diagnosis and reason for the surgery? Do I have arthritis in my knee?
  • Is non-surgical treatment an option? If so, what kind? How long should I try non-surgical treatment before revisiting the option of surgery?
  • What are the pros and cons of surgery?
  • Do I need to fast before the surgery? If so, for how long?
  • Is there any other special preparation for the surgery? (If so, get clear instructions on what you need to do.)
  • What kind of sedation will I have? What are the possible side effects?
  • What are the possible complications to the surgery?
  • How will I feel after the surgery? Will I have to modify my activity?
  • How long will it take me to recover?
  • What type of rehabilitation program will I need to undergo?

After your surgery, you should know what you had done, what medication was given, and what symptoms you should report to your healthcare provider. You should also understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans.


Also known as:

Torn Ligament
Torn ACL
Ligament Damage
Ligament Attachment (ACL Repair)
Knee Surgery
Knee Pain
Knee Ligament
Knee Injury
Knee Arthroscopy With ACL Surgery
Knee Arthroscopy
Blown Knee
Blown ACL
Arthroscopic Surgery
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear
ACL Tear
ACL Repair via Arthroscopy
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