ACL Tear: Surgery & Recovery


Since a torn ACL will not heal by itself, it is most often treated with arthroscopic surgery, a minimally invasive procedure that reconstructs the torn ligament. When performed by an experienced orthopedic surgeon, ACL surgery has an exceptionally high rate of success, making it an ideal choice for active patients looking to return to peak performance as quickly as possible. In addition, ACL surgery can prevent lasting damage to the meniscus and surrounding cartilage and prevent the development of early onset arthritis.


ACL surgery usually entails reconstruction of the torn ligament with either the patient’s tissue or tissue from another source. The surgery effectively stabilizes the affected knee, eliminates pain, prevents damage to the meniscus, and slows the progress of arthritis in some patients. As with most sports medicine surgeries, the procedure is arthroscopic, requiring only a few small incisions through which the surgeon can operate.

Throughout his career, top-rated orthopedic surgeon Dr. Leon E. Popovitz, MD has demonstrated sustained proficiency and success in ACL reconstruction, completely restoring stability and function to over a thousand patients. A firm believer in cartilage preservation, he strongly believes that maintaining the tissue with which we’re born is the key to a healthy joint. With every procedure, he carefully stabilizes the joint to prevent future damage to the cartilage within it, ensuring the long-term health of the entire knee and a smooth recovery for the patient.


Since the procedure is minimally invasive, ACL surgery is generally quite short. In most cases, it’s completed within an hour and thirty minutes.


As with any knee surgery, ACL reconstruction will cause some pain, swelling, and a general feeling of weakness for several days after the procedure. While the repaired ACL can bear weight immediately, patients will initially need to rely on crutches for balance. After two weeks have passed, patients should be able to walk without crutches and return to work if they haven’t already done so.

Physical therapy designed to restore the knee’s range of motion can begin within a week of surgery. While most patients can begin jogging three months after surgery, they should alsorefrain from any activities that require frequent pivoting until the ligament has completely healed.

Most patients will completely recover from a torn ACL after six months, but depending on the extent of the injury and the nature of the graft, full recovery can take another several months. If the graft is taken from another tissue in the patient’s knee, the patient should be able to resume athletic activities in six months. If the graft is taken from another person. completely recovery should take about nine months, since the foreign tissue needs more time to become attached to the bone.



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