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Is ACL surgery really necessary?

01 October 2017

Surgical reconstruction of a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a common option for many people. Orthopaedic Surgeon Professor Piers Yates explains why surgery might be recommended by your doctor.

Do I really need to have my ruptured ACL repaired?

The ACL cannot regenerate once it has ruptured. Without your ACL, your knee is less stable and more susceptible to future injury. Find out more about your ACL and diagnosing a ruptured ligament.

If your lifestyle allows for it, it is possible to simply adopt an exercise regime to strengthen the muscles that surround the knee joint without an ACL. This may not give you the stability in the knee that the ACL provides, but it will give you some compensation that may be enough for what you want to do.

For those with physical jobs or who play sport regularly, surgery is often recommended.

What is involved in ligament re-construction surgery?

Usually, a tendon is taken from your hamstring (next to the knee joint) and is inserted into the knee to replace your damaged ACL.

This is usually performed under a general anaesthetic and you may need to stay in hospital overnight after surgery.

Are there any risks involved?

There are risks involved in all surgery, however ACL reconstruction is considered very low risk and has excellent outcomes. Most patients should expect to return to full activity six months after surgery.

Contact your doctor or specialist to find the best option for you.

Any surgical procedure carries risks. Make sure you discuss all possible risks with an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Piers Yates - Orthopaedic Surgeon

Prof Piers Yates is an orthopaedic surgeon at St John of God Murdoch Hospital. He has been practicing in WA as a specialist orthopaedic and trauma surgeon from 2006 with a particular interest in joint replacement and trauma.