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ACL Reconstruction Surgery

Surgery for an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is performed using an arthroscopic, or minimally invasive, procedure. This is done through three small incisions on the knee, approximately one-quarter inch in length. Another incision is made 1 to 2 inches in length to harvest the graft and insert it. The surgery is usually completed in 60 to 90 minutes as an outpatient procedure with the patient returning home the same day.

The Virginia Mason Difference in Anesthesiology

At Virginia Mason, physicians are employing new approaches to anesthesiology, beginning with the use of pre-surgery non-narcotic medications that have been demonstrated to reduce pain and speed recovery.

The local anesthetic delivered during surgery follows specific guidelines designed to promote a faster recovery with fewer complications.

Follow Up and ACL Rehabilitation

Follow up is done two to four days after surgery with the surgeon and a physical therapist. Patients begin with strengthening and weight-bearing exercises designed to help them regain full range of motion in the knee. Most patients are able to wean off their crutches within seven to 10 days.

Patients are allowed to ride an exercise bike within the first few days, and are allowed swimming and regular bicycling at six weeks. They may start a light jogging program between eight and 12 weeks. It is necessary, however, to protect the graft from aggressive sports activities for six to eight months after reconstruction.

If you have an ACL injury that you are concerned about, you can schedule an appointment to speak with a sports medicine physician by calling (206) 341-3000.