ACL Treatment

ACL Treatment

The board-certified, fellowship-trained surgeons of The Center for ACL Injuries have repaired thousands of injured ACLs over their successful careers.

In the video to the right, our doctors discuss the various aspects of surgery on an anterior cruciate ligament, including how they and the rest of our medical team work closely with each patient to ensure that both surgery and recovery are individualized based on the patient’s needs, history and desired outcome.

ACL Tears and Reconstruction

A tear to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most common major injuries to the knee. The ACL is one of four ligaments in the knee, and these ligaments work together to stabilize the knee during activities.

The ACL is typically injured by sudden stops or changes in direction (“cutting”) or from landing incorrectly from a jump. Athletes who participate in high-impact, twisting, and pivoting sports like football, soccer, and basketball are more likely to injure their anterior cruciate ligaments than others.

Diagnosing an ACL tear

Those who tear their ACL usually can associate it with a sudden event, and it is often accompanied by a “pop” sound. The knee may swell, and it may be uncomfortable to walk due to an unstable feeling in the knee. Our physicians can confirm the tear with a physical examination and an MRI scan. When the ACL is completely torn, it cannot repair itself, and thus the ligament function is lost.

Surgical Reconstruction of the ACL

The surgery to reconstruct the ACL involves taking a piece of tendonous tissue to replace the ACL. There are a few different choices when it comes to tendon grafts. Tendons and ligaments share similar tissue, composed primarily of collagen protein. The underlying concept behind the reconstructive surgery is that a tendon is surgically placed into the knee exactly into the position where the torn ACL was located.

Nonsurgical Treatment for ACL Injuries

You do not always have to have surgery after an ACL tear; sometimes inflammation control, physical therapy, and bracing can get you back to your lifestyle. For a small percentage of people, they can do well after an ACL tear without surgical reconstruction. These individuals tend to be older and less active, and are not involved with activities or sports that involve pivoting or “cutting.”

When dealing with an ACL injury, you have many options, depending on what your activity goals are. Our physicians will create a personalized treatment plan for you and make sure you feel comfortable with the next steps in your care.

The surgeons at The Center for ACL Injuries in Austin are skilled in providing surgical treatment for other knee injuries associated with ACL tears as well.

Learn More About Knee Injuries and Treatment

To learn more about the treatment of knee injuries at Austin Sports Medicine’s Center for ACL Injuries, please visit our main site by clicking here.

ACL Treatment Video

ACL Reconstruction Hamstring Method

ACL Reconstruction Patellar Tendon

Bone-Patellar Tendon-Bone (BPTB)

Arthroscopy of the Knee Joint

Frequently Asked Questions

What are my ACL Surgery graft choices?

Options for graft tissue include hamstring or patellar tendon harvested from the patient’s own body (autografts), or tissue harvested from a donor (allografts).

Graft choice may be based on number of factors, such as age, activity level and instability.

When can I return to my normal activities following surgery?

Depending on completion of rehab testing and quad strength, patients typically return to normal activities after 6-9 months.

How long will I be on crutches?

Each of our doctors have their own protocols, but following surgery, the average amount of time a patient is on crutches is about one to two weeks. The amount of time can depend on what other structures are repaired, e.g. a meniscal repair.

When will I start rehab?

Rehab begins at home the day after the procedure. Exercises are provided to patients at their pre-op appointment, and a CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) machine will be sent home with you the day of surgery to assist with pain and range of motion.

Will I be wearing a brace after surgery?

Yes, you will be wearing a post-op brace immediately after surgery. This will be worn at all times for approximately 6 weeks. Toward the end of your rehab regimen, a sports brace will be ordered which will be worn during sports activities for up to one year after surgery.

How soon after surgery can I drive?

Many factors go into determining when you are able to begin driving post-surgery. It is mostly dependent upon when you stop using pain medication and when you feel you can safely operate a car. The typical time is 10-12 days.