ACL Reconstruction


What are my restrictions after my ACL reconstruction?

Following ACL reconstruction avoid from high-impact activities.


How long until I can drive a car?

You may drive your car once you have full control of your surgical leg. If you had surgery on your left leg and drive an automatic transmission car you may be able to drive as early as 2 weeks following surgery if you are not taking pain medications. If an ACL reconstruction was performed on the right knee and/or you drive a manual transmission you may be unable to drive for six weeks.


When can I return to work?

Your returning to work greatly depends on what type of work you do. Sit down jobs or office jobs you may be able to return as early as 2 – weeks depending on your recovery. Jobs which require a lot of walking or standing require you to be farther along in your recovery.


Will I need assistance at home following surgery?

Returning home directly from the hospital you will most likely require assistance with house cleaning, meal preparation, ect. depending on the progress you made in the hospital.


Will I need home physical therapy?

Following a total ACL reconstruction patients do not require at home physical therapy but requires outpatient physical therapy 2-3 times a week for at least 4 weeks.


When will I be able to walk following surgery?

You will be walking the day following your surgery with the use of a cane or walker. You will talk will either a cane, walker or crutches for 2 – 6 weeks depending on your recovery.


When can I return to stair climbing?

The physical therapy department at the hospital will have you climbing stairs before you are discharged from the hospital. The speed in which you climb the stairs depends on your progress.


What can I do to prepare for recovery?

We recommend 2 weeks of physical therapy prior to your ACL reconstruction to strengthen your surrounding muscles.


When should I have a ACL reconstruction?

Your surgeon will determine if you are a candidate for total ACL reconstruction through and x-ray and physical examination. It is your decision to schedule surgery based on your discomfort, pain, loss of quality of life.


What are the risks and complications for ACL reconstruction?

The risks involved with ACL reconstruction are uncommon but can occur include but not limited to injuries to the nerves and blood vessels, loss of motion to the knee, stiffness to the knee, pulmonary embolism, thrombophlebitis, fracture, patellar tendon rupture, and possible need for future surgery.


Does ACL reconstructions fail?

ACL reconstructions can fail commonly due to high impact activities.


What medications do I need to discontinue prior to surgery?

Please discontinue the use of Aspirin or any product containing aspirin 10 days prior to surgery. This includes Plavix, Mobic, Celebrex, Motrin (Ibuprofen), Advil, Aleve, Vitamin E, Gingko Biloba, and Multivitamins. You may take Tylenol based products.


Is it normal to have numbness along the outside of my knee following surgery?

You may experience some numbness on the outside of your knee, this occurs when making the incision damaging nerves. This usually goes away with time.


When can I shower/bathe following my ACL reconstruction?

Avoid showering or bathing until your incision is completely dry.


How long is my surgery?

Your time in the operating room varies between 45 – 90 minutes followed by time in the recovery room.


What should I bring to the hospital?

Comfortable loose fitting clothing which easily stretches above the knee.


When can I resume taking all of my medications following ACL reconstruction?

You may resume all of your medications upon discharge from the hospital unless indicated otherwise by your doctor.


Constipation following ACL reconstruction?

Following your ACL reconstruction the pain medications you are prescribed may cause constipation, if this is the case we often recommend the “Brown Bomber” to counteract the constipation.

  • 1 Oz. Milk of Magnesia
  • 4 Oz., Prune Juice
  • Mix milk of magnesia and prune, microwave for 30 seconds and mix.

Drink in the morning before breakfast or in the evening before dinner, this can be repeated after 6 hours if needed.


How often do I wear the Compression Stocking following ACL reconstruction?

The compression stockings are to be worn during the day and may be taken off at night before going to bed. Continue this until your first postoperative visit back to the office.