Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction

Your anterior cruciate ligament, more commonly known as the ACL, helps your knee rotate, while preventing it from bending forward. While anyone can have an injury and tear their ACL, you’re more prone to ACL injuries if you play soccer, football, or basketball, or if you ski. Make an appointment online or call Olympus Orthopedic Medical Group if you suspect that you tore your ACL. San Diego’s top orthopedic surgeon, Oke Anakwenze, MD, is highly skilled at performing ACL reconstruction surgeries. He gets you back on your feet and back in the game as soon as possible.

ACL Reconstruction Q & A

Will I know if I tear my ACL?

Yes. When the injury occurs, you feel pain and have swelling in your knee right away. It’s also common to feel like your knee is unstable and about to “give way.” In the following hours, your knee continues to swell and your range of motion is limited. Plus, when you try to walk on it, you feel a lot of pain and tenderness, making walking uncomfortable.  

How is an ACL reconstruction surgery done?

In some cases, when you tear cartilage, ligaments, or tendons in your body, the orthopedic surgeon can sew them up and let them heal. This isn’t possible with a torn ACL, just because the sutures aren’t likely to hold. During an ACL reconstruction, Dr. Anakwenze uses a graft to replace your torn ACL.

Grafts can come from a cadaver, or they can come from your own body. Dr. Anakwenze might pull tendon from another area of your knee, your hamstring, or your quadriceps, to replace your torn ACL. Reconstructions with a graft are highly successful, giving you complete knee stability after your recovery period. You should be able to return to your activities and sports when you are healed.

What should I expect after surgery?

Dr. Anakwenze specializes in using less invasive surgical procedures, like arthroscopy, to perform ACL reconstruction surgeries. This way, you have less scarring, pain, and swelling after your procedure. Even though you’re sore and stiff when you wake up from surgery, you should be able to go home right away.

You wear a brace from one to four weeks after surgery, and you may need crutches to get around. Because Dr. Anakwenze doesn’t want your knee to stiffen up, he typically suggests starting to move it right away. If you stay off it and don’t move it at all, your pain level can actually worsen.

The team at Olympus Orthopedic Medical Group helps you make arrangements for physical therapy. You go several times per week for four to six months after your ACL reconstruction surgery. Once you make it through though, you should be able to return to all of your activities, including sports, with Dr. Anakwenze’s approval.