ACL Reconstruction

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery technique. A few small incisions are made around the joint to allow a camera and various instruments to pass through. These instruments tools allow for the anatomic structures to be visualized and the ACL tear confirmed. Tunnels in the tibia and shin bone are made through which a new graft can be placed and secured in position, making a new ACL.

  • Procedure

  • Why ACL reconstruction

  • Candidates

  • Recovery

  • testimonials


A knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that involves creating 2 small incisions (roughly 0.5 inch each) around the knee joint. These small portals allow a camera to enter the joint for visualization of anatomic structures, as well as tools to repair any injured structures. There are several graft options that can be used to reconstruct the knee. The type of graft used is tailored to each patient and depends on age, sport, and activity level. Most commonly, a portion of the patellar tendon attached to bone on each end is used. Bone tunnels are created in the femur and tibia that will accommodate the bone on each side of the tendon graft and is secured with metal screws that compress the bone in the tunnels. This allows for bone-to-bone healing. The knee is examined to ensure restoration of the stability to the knee. The incisions are closed and dressings applied. An ACE wrap and brace will be placed on the patient prior to waking up from anesthesia.

  • This surgery is most often performed under general anesthesia with a nerve block, but can be performed with a spinal anesthetic, nerve block, and sedation.
  • This surgery is usually outpatient, which means the patient will be able to go home the same day.
  • Surgery typically lasts 1.5-2 hours.
  • The incisions will be closed with absorbable suture, and dressings will be applied that can usually be removed 2-3 days after surgery.
  • Patient will be fit for a brace at a preop appointment, which will need to be brought to surgery.
  • The brace will be placed on the patient prior to waking up from anesthesia.
  • The brace will need to be worn locked in full extension when walking and at night, but should be unlocked at least three times a day and may also be removed for hygiene. The brace is usually discontinued once the patient regains enough quad strength to keep the knee full straight when the leg is raised off the bed (i.e. straight leg raise).

Frequently Asked


Can I bear weight after surgery?

Yes, as long as the brace is locked in full extension. Physical therapists will work with you to help you regain your range of motion and strength.

Sometimes weightbearing will be restricted if a meniscal repair was also performed.

Can I drive after surgery?

You should not drive for 6 weeks if the operative leg was your right leg. If the operative leg was your left leg, we recommend not driving for at least a couple of days as long as you are no longer taking any narcotics.

How can I manage my pain?

A prescription for a narcotic will be given to you at your preoperative appointment. Dr. Faulkner or his PA, Cara, will review instructions for this medication and what other over the counter medications can be taken to control pain. Risks and side effects will also be discussed.

When do I start physical therapy?

You will typically start physical therapy 2 weeks after surgery.

How long do I have to wear my TED hose?

TED hose are worn to help prevent blood clots in the legs. These should be worn for several hours a day for two weeks after surgery.

Do I need to take any medication to prevent risk of blood clots?

You should take an Aspirin 325 mg to prevent the risk of blood clots for 2 weeks after surgery. If you have a personal history of blood clots or other risk factors, Dr. Faulkner or his PA, Cara, may prescribe a stronger blood thinner.

Can I shower?

You may shower 48 hours after surgery. The dressings placed over the incision may be removed at this time; however, the steri-strips are to be left in place. You may get the incisions wet, but should not soak them in water until the wounds are completely healed.

I am told I need surgery. What next?