Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee reconstruction surgery

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At Practice Plus Group we offer fast access to high-quality ACL surgery and treatment via self-pay, insured and NHS routes.

ACL surgery prices and locations

If you have experienced a torn anterior cruciate ligament in your knee, your doctor may recommend ACL knee reconstruction surgery to help restore your knee’s stability and function. We take a look at what that means for you, how you can prepare for the procedure, and how long it could take to recover.

What is anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee reconstruction surgery?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the ligaments inside your knee – it joins your thigh bone (femur) to the front of your shin bone (tibia).

ACL knee reconstruction is a surgical procedure that involves replacing your torn ligament with a tissue graft. If successful, the surgery allows you to return to your normal everyday activities.

The surgery is performed using minimally invasive techniques to reduce scarring and bruising. The graft is usually taken from elsewhere on the patient’s body, such as the hamstring or patellar tendon. The harvested ligament is then secured to the bone using screws or other fixation devices.

When is an ACL knee reconstruction required?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) provides stability and helps prevent excessive movement or rotation of the knee. When the ACL is torn or damaged, it can cause instability, pain, and difficulty with activities that require twisting or pivoting movements.

ACL knee reconstruction surgery is often required when the torn ligament results in instability of the knee. The aim of this procedure is to restore stability to the knee joint and improve overall function and mobility. Without surgical intervention, an ACL tear can lead to long-term instability, an increased risk of knee arthritis, and a reduction in the ability to participate in physical activities.

Types of ACL knee surgery

There are several different techniques used in ACL knee reconstruction surgery, including autografts and allografts. Autografts involve using tissue from the patient’s body, while allografts use tissue from a donor. 95% of all ACL surgeries are autografts.

Knee replacement vs knee reconstruction

Knee replacement surgery involves replacing the entire knee joint, while knee reconstruction surgery involves replacing damaged soft tissue within the knee (such as the ACL, PCL and MCL ligaments amongst others). Knee replacement is a much more complex procedure and requires a lengthy recovery period.

What causes anterior cruciate ligament injuries in the knee?

ACL injuries in the knee are typically caused by sudden twisting or hyperextension of the knee joint. They’re most likely to occur when playing sport or during physical activity. Other causes may include a direct blow to the knee, landing awkwardly after a jump, or a sudden stop or change in direction.

How do you know if you need a knee reconstruction?

If you are experiencing symptoms such as instability, pain, and difficulty with physical activities, your doctor will first recommend an MRI scan to investigate and confirm. Surgical treatment may then be required to help restore knee function and stability.

Preparing for anterior cruciate ligament surgery

Before ACL knee reconstruction surgery, it is important to prepare yourself mentally and physically. You should also ensure you have a support system in place to help during your recovery. You should also ask your consultant about pre-surgery exercises to strengthen your quads and hamstrings.

ACL surgical techniques

ACL reconstruction surgery is performed using minimally invasive knee arthroscopic techniques. This involves a combination of fibre optics, small incisions and small instruments For a tissue graft, a larger incision is required.

What should I avoid before ACL surgery?

Before ACL surgery you should try to avoid the following:

  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • smoking
  • activities with a high risk of falling.

What should I ask my surgeon before ACL surgery?

Before ACL knee reconstruction surgery, it’s likely you’ll have plenty of questions. Here’s a list of some you might want to consider posing to your orthopaedic surgeon when you get the opportunity:

  • How is the procedure performed?
  • Will this surgery solve the problem?
  • Will any more surgery be required in the future?
  • What are the benefits of this procedure in terms of pain relief and mobility?
  • What are the risks involved in this procedure?
  • What is the success rate for this procedure?
  • How long is the recovery period?
  • What should I avoid doing during recovery?
  • What will the discharge instructions be?

Possible ACL surgery risks

As with any surgery, there are potential risks associated with an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction operation. These may include:

  • Infection – the risk of infection is small and you may be given antibiotics after your operation to prevent infection from developing
  • Blood clot – the risk of developing a blood clot is very low, but if you’re thought to be at risk, you may be given special medication
  • Knee pain – this is more likely to occur in patients that have had tissue grafted from their patella tendon. The pain is usually located behind your kneecap or when kneeling down or crouching
  • Knee weakness and stiffness – some people experience long-term weakness or stiffness in their knee
  • Failure of fixation – After ACL surgery, there’s also a small chance that the newly-grafted ligament will fail and your knee will still be unstable. In the event this occurs, further surgery may be recommended.

ACL surgery costs

The cost of ACL knee reconstruction surgery varies depending on a number of factors. These include the severity of the injury, the location of the hospital, and the chosen healthcare provider. In the UK, the price range for having the procedure privately can be up to £8,500. ACL surgery at Practice Plus Group costs £6,399 and is available to self-pay and insured patients.

Knee reconstruction surgery recovery

As with any major surgery, the recovery process from an ACL operation can take several months. This will likely involve physical therapy to build your muscle strength, rest, and a gradual increase in your activity levels.

ACL injury recovery time

The recovery time for an ACL injury typically takes between three months to a year and varies due to the following:

  • the severity of the injury
  • the type of treatment received
  • the goals for rehabilitation.

Knee ligament surgery recovery time

The recovery time for knee ligament surgery can vary depending on the specific type of surgery and how quickly your wound heals. Generally speaking, patients can expect to return to everyday activities after around six weeks after the operation.

You’ll be encouraged to continue with activities such as cycling and swimming but should avoid sports that involve a lot of twisting, jumping or contact.

Knee extension exercises after ACL reconstruction

Following ACL surgery, your doctor or physical therapist may recommend a range of exercises designed to help you regain movement while strengthening your knee. Some examples of these exercises include:

  • Wall slides – Stand with your back against a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly slide down the wall, bending your knees until they are at a 45-degree angle. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then slide back up the wall to a standing position. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions
  • Static quads – These are good initial exercises to improve knee extension. Sit upright on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Point your toes directly up to the ceiling. Tighten your thigh muscle, pushing the back of your knee down towards the floor.

It’s important to stop if you feel pain during any of these exercises.

Private ACL reconstruction surgery near you

Private ACL reconstruction is available at the following Practice Plus Group locations:

  • Barlborough
  • Emersons Green
  • Ilford
  • Plymouth
  • Southampton
  • Shepton Mallet

Ways to pay

There are 3 ways to access partial hip replacement treatment at Practice Plus Group:

Why choose Practice Plus Group?

At Practice Plus Group Hospitals, we’re passionate about giving patients a positive experience and excellent clinical outcomes, with personalised care every step of the way. Whether you’re paying for yourself or using private medical insurance, with our short waiting times, unrivalled Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings and high levels of cleanliness and infection control, we’ll make sure you’re looked after.

In fact, we were the first provider to have all services rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC.

ACL surgery and treatment FAQS

Not quite found what you’re looking for? Take a look at our dedicated ACL surgery FAQs for more information.

Yes. ACL knee reconstruction surgery is considered a major procedure and requires a significant recovery period.

There may be some discomfort or pain after ACL knee reconstruction surgery. Your doctor can provide pain management options to help manage your discomfort.

ACL knee reconstruction surgery typically takes between one and two hours.

If your ACL tear is left untreated, you run the risk of a lengthy and potentially unsuccessful healing process. Your doctor may recommend surgery as the best course of action.

Without surgery, an ACL tear may result in long-term instability and a higher risk of re-injury. You may also experience decreased mobility and, as a consequence, poorer quality of life.

Following surgery, it takes time for your wound to heal. During the healing process, the new ligament has a higher risk of rupturing which may occur if strain is placed on your knee that the graft cannot tolerate.

Wearing a knee brace after ACL surgery can protect the graft as it is healing. The brace helps to control the motion of your knee and limit the range of motion around your knee during your recovery period. Your consultant will be able to advise if a brace is required.

Some discomfort after ACL knee reconstruction surgery is normal. Your doctor can provide medication to help manage this.

After ACL knee reconstruction surgery, it may take several weeks before you are able to walk without crutches. The exact timeline will vary depending on your individual healing process.

You won’t be ready to drive until around six weeks after your operation. The exception to this rule is if you’ve had ACL reconstruction on your left knee and drive an automatic car. In this case, you should be able to drive after three weeks.

It’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations and ensure that you are able to safely operate a vehicle.

This depends on the type of work you do. If you work a desk job, you might be able to return after a couple of weeks. Manual or more active jobs may require a longer healing time and it may take up to three months before you can return.

Playing sport again may take several months, in some cases up to a year. Your return will depend on the type of sport you play. Talk to your doctor or physiotherapist about returning to playing sport safely.

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