A patient with an ACL tear generally will have an injury where they’ll have either some type of twisting injury or they buckle on the knee, and we’ll have a pop and the knee will swell up. And generally, the symptoms that they feel are pain and instability.
Generally, I’m looking at it for physical exam findings that are consistent with knee laxity, swelling, and then the history that also goes along with it. And to confirm the diagnosis, we will get an MRI scan and then go over the results, and then base our treatment based on their activity and function level.
Different options for treatment can include anywhere from nonoperative treatment, to somebody that’s more sedentary to ACL reconstruction and your more younger and active patients.
So the surgery is generally a reconstruction, meaning that you don’t repair the ligaments side to side, but you use some other type of tissue to reconstruct and make a new ligament to take the place of the ACL. The surgery generally is an outpatient type surgery, that’s an arthroscopic assisted type procedure.
The recovery can range anywhere from six to nine months, depending on how quickly their rehab process goes.