Blake A. Nonweiler, M.D., Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon
Comprehensive Orthopedic Care.

Bend, OR ACL Surgery

About ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) Knee Surgery

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstructive surgery replaces the ligament in the center of the knee with a new ligament. The ACL keeps your shin bone (tibia) in place when moving around. A ligament tear can cause your knee to feel unstable or give out during physical activity. Usually the tearing of the ACL occurs with a sudden direction change or when a deceleration force crosses the knee. The patient often feels or hears a popping sensation, has the rapid onset of swelling, and develops a buckling sensation in the knee when attempting to change direction. Leaving an ACL tear untreated can lead to tissue damage, other ligament damage and even early arthritis.

ACL Diagnosis & Treatment

The diagnosis of an ACL injury is determined by a knee examination by Dr. Nonweiler to determine the etiology (cause) of injury, the presence or absence of blood within the joint and perform diagnostic studies such a x-rays, MRI scans and stress tests of the ligament.

Initial treatment of an acute ACL injury often includes ice, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy, which is directed at restoring the range of motion of the injured knee. Treatment for an injured anterior cruciate ligament can be summarized by the acronym RICE, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. As always it's best to consult your physician before beginning any treatment as well as to determine the severity of the injury.

ACL Surgical Reconstruction

Surgical treatment of the torn ACL usually involves an arthroscopic surgical reconstruction of the injured ligament. With arthroscopy, a tiny camera is inserted into the knee through a small incision. The camera is connected to a video monitor in the operating room. Dr. Nonweiler will use the camera to check the ligaments and other tissues of your knee. Anesthesia will be administered right before surgery. The tissue that will replace your damaged ACL will come from your own body (autograft) or from a donor (allograft). The two most common places to take tissue from are a tendon in your knee or your hamstring.

After ACL Repair

ACL reconstruction is usually very successful. A torn ACL used to end the careers of athletes but now improvements in the surgery and in rehabilitation provide much better results. These improvements include less pain and stiffness, fewer complications with the surgery itself, and faster recovery time. Most people will have a stable knee after about 2-6 months depending on the precautions taken after surgery.