Did you know that the ACL is the most commonly injured ligament in the knee? Every year orthopedic surgeons perform over 100,000 ACL surgeries. When considering ACL surgery, asking questions and knowing what to expect can help guide you in your next step on the path to recovery.
Treatment for a torn ACL depends on the severity of the tear and the patient’s activity level, so it’s important to understand your diagnosis and the treatment options available to you.
If surgery is indicated, understanding what to expect is essential for a successful outcome. Asking a lot of questions can help you approach ACL surgery with confidence.
How should I prepare for surgery?
Prior to surgery, physical therapy can help strengthen your knee muscles and prepare your leg for surgery. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help prepare your body. You can also prepare your home. After surgery, you may be using crutches to get around, so clearing pathways and having meals prepared beforehand can help significantly.
What are my graft options?
There are two different types of grafts that can be used for surgery - an autograft, tissue taken from your own body, or an allograft, tissue from a donor. Both options have benefits for the patient, but usually there is a recommendation based on the circumstances and your desired outcome. Discussing your options can help you make the best decision based on your preferences, desired outcomes, and surgeon’s recommendations.
How long will my recovery be?
Recovery is unique to each individual, but there are some milestones along the way. Functional milestones like walking without crutches, driving, and returning to school or work usually occur within 2-6 weeks. Other milestones such as returning to training or sports will take 6-12 months. Setting realistic expectations for recovery will help you return to activities and sports safely.
As you begin to think through the process of surgery, use these questions to start a conversation with your surgeon. Make a list of questions you have and take it with you to your appointment. Knowing what to expect before, during, and after surgery will give you confidence for the journey ahead and put you on a path for a positive surgical outcome.
Milan M. DiGiulio, M.D. offers comprehensive orthopedic care for you and your entire family, specializing in Sports Medicine and arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder and knee. Dr. DiGiulio performs over 200 arthroscopic shoulder and knee surgeries each year, using the most advanced surgical technology. Dr. DiGiulio is an advocate of non-invasive, non-surgical treatment options such as Physical Therapy and Orthobiologics.