ACLS Summary

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Repair or ACL repairs or reconnects the torn ACL ligament. The ACL is one of the four ligaments that stabilize the knee. The ACL is the most common of the four knee ligaments to become damaged or torn.

The anterior cruciate ligament restrains forward motion of the shin bone. In other words, it prevents the shin from going past the knee. Without it the shin and knee are unstable. In actuality, the ACL needs to be replaced rather than repaired if it is torn.

Reasons to choose ACL repair:

  • You have a complete or partial tear of the ACL
  • You completed rehabilitation and your knee is still unstable
  • You are active in sports or work and your knee is unstable
  • Chronic ACL deficiency has become life altering

Length of the procedure: 1 to 2 hours

Hospital Stay: ACL repair is done arthroscopically and does not require a hospital stay.

Recovery before traveling home: Patients seeking and anterior cruciate ligament repair through medical tourism can return home within 24 to 48 hours in most cases.

Procedure Details

When your procedure begins you will be given general anesthesia or a spinal block. The surgeon will make 2 to 3 small incisions around the knee. Saline solution is pumped in one of the incisions to expand the area and make the structures of the knee more visible. A tiny camera is inserted in another so an image of the underlying structures can be transmitted for the surgeons viewing.

The surgeon will drill small holes in the surrounding bones of the upper and lower leg. These holes will be used to anchor the ligament graft that will repair/replace the damaged ACL. The graft ligament is pulled through two of the anchor holes and secured with screws or staples. The incisions are closed with sutures or tape.

After the Procedure

When the surgery is complete you will be moved to a recovery area to be monitored. Once you have recovered from the anesthesia you were given you will be released from care. It is best to take part in some type of professional physical therapy to ensure proper healing and full restoration of mobility. It takes between 6 to 12 weeks to return to sports and normal activities following the procedure.


Anterior cruciate ligament repair is chosen because it enables injured individuals to return to normal activity. It stabilizes the knee and prevents further injury from occurring. Studies show that close to 90% of individuals who have their ACL repair achieve favorable results.

Risks and Complications

ACL surgery is generally a safe procedure, but as with any medical procedure there are some risks. The following are the most common risks associated with ACL repair:

  • Allergy to anesthesia
  • Breathing problems from anesthesia
  • Numbness in scar
  • Infection
  • Knee structure damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Arterial damage
  • Blood clots
  • Loosening of the graft tendon
  • Limited mobility
  • Bleeding
  • Weakness in the knee
  • Pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Swelling
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Repeat Injury

Any concerns you have before or after your ACL repair procedure regarding these risks and complications should be discussed with your surgeon.

Contact your physician if:
  • Bleeding is soaking through your bandages and pressure applied to the area does not control the bleeding
  • Pain does not subside with pain medication
  • Swelling or pain in the calf develops
  • Your toes or feet are cool to the touch and or darker than normal in color
  • Redness of the incision develops
  • Swelling of the incision develops
  • The incision is throbbing or has localized pain
  • The incision begins to ooze or has a yellowish discharge
  • Your temperature is above 101 degrees and does not reduce when you take Tylenol or ibuprofen