ACL Surgery Info

ACL SurgeryThis ACL Surgery site provides real, unbiased, useful information about cost, recovery time, rehab, insurance issues, choosing a surgeon, and most everything related to making the decision of having ACL surgery.

It was created by people who actually had ACL surgery (anterior cruciate ligament)¬†and needed more details to help make a more informed decision. Learn from the mistakes and successes of others and enjoy your visit! Now, scroll down to view the 8 key steps BEFORE having ACL surgery…

8 Key Steps Before Having ACL Surgery:

  1. Talk to a doctor
  2. Get an xray and MRI
  3. Rehab/strengthen the knee as much as possible (pre-surgery)
  4. Choose the type of ACL surgery you want (graft and fixation choice)
  5. Choose a doctor
  6. Get billing codes from your doctor for each specific component of the surgery, approx hours in surgery, location (address), and get their estimate of costs assuming you had no insurance.
  7. Have a thorough conversation with your health insurance company (if you have one) to learn how much % your insurance will cover you. Fully document the questions, answers and conversation.
  8. Now that you have cost information, you are able to make an informed decision on whether or not to have the surgery.

Important Note: there’s no risk in waiting if you are careful. The surgery itself won’t be more or less successful if you wait 5 – 10 years. The only risk is if you try to do sports or activity on an unstable knee and injure it worse. Some people, through lots of strengthening of surrounding muscles are able to compensate for the vulnerability and not have the surgery.

If you do have surgery, wait at least 6 months after your incident. The reason is that the knee sometimes takes months for swelling to go down, for full range of motion to return, and to re-strengthen the muscles. You don’t want surgery if you are still healing from the incident. When in doubt, postpone.

If this is the kind of advice you’re looking for, check out the ACL Surgery Cheat Sheet. It has everything you need to know about your ACL surgery options and could save you hours of research.

44 thoughts on “ACL Surgery Info

  1. It is incredibly helpful when people share their own personal experiences. I thought about spamming your site with my own links, but I would never stoop that low; I see this site is a fantastic resource. Especially for those who are about to have ACL surgery or who have recently had an ACL reconstruction.

  2. aclsurgery says:

    Thank you, we’re trying to get as many useful resources here as possible. Suggestions are always welcomed- anything related to ACL surgery, braces, rehab, pros/cons, etc.

    1. Mike Beavers says:

      A couple years ago, my wife tore her ACL on the tennis court. Doc said 6 months after surgery before she could even step foot on a court. So many bad stories about people who didn’t listen to their doc (!). She did listen, had a 100% recovery, and then worked her butt off to get back up to speed. Two years later, and her tennis team is leaving for Tucson to play in the USTA Nationals next week (Oct., 2012). Sweet.

      The moral? Listen to your doc, do your rehab like your life depends on it, and be patient. Do that, and everything will work out fine.

  3. Having ACL surgery tomorrow morning, only found this site now! But I will definitely be using this site for advice with the recovery!
    Wish me luck!

    1. Linda Romeo says:

      Hey good luck with your surgery, hope all goes well. I had my acl surgery 3.5 months ago with hamstring graft and pleased to see things are going really well for me. Saw my surgeon last week and he’s extremely pleased with my progress and my physios are wonderful to. Following your physio’s advise on rehab and you should be back on your feet in no time.

      1. Hi how are you I just had my avoid done and this like my four day did your back of ur cad hurt

  4. B.Raghunandan says:

    I have already got done ACL surgery two months back still i have not recovered
    please let me have detials of recovery how many months/weeks may take to walk normally.

    1. aclsurgery says:

      Just click the ACL rehab link at the top: http://www.aclsurgery.us/acl-rehab/ gives some info on ACL recovery and rehab times. Good luck! Also recommend looking at the other pages and user submitted stories from ACL reconstruction patients is valuable!

    2. Had ACL and Meniscus tear, ACL was reconstructed with my hamstring, meniscus they did what was called micro fracture surgery. Surgery was done on 8-9-11 i was in a brace and on crutches with zero movement for for 4/weeks.
      Now I’m trying to put full weight on it and walk without the brace and crutches
      not working out. Very stiff, sometimes I wake up during the night with an extreme amount of pain. Called my doctor who told me to back off on the exercises I have been doing at home but continue with the PT. I am scheduled to return to work on the 22ND of Oct. its going to take a lot of work to meet that dead line.

  5. kristen pepperling says:

    I had ACL surgery 6/25/10 with my patellar tendon allograft, and I have no problems with my knee while playing soccer, although it is sometimes painful in my knee cap.

    Now I’m having surgery on my other ACL, and have heard that the cadaver achilles is a bad idea for athletes. Is there any athlete that tried that with any advice?

  6. I have my surgery in 1 week… wish me luckk

  7. Dave Mogensen says:

    My son tore his ACL playing rugby. He is 17 years old. He had surgery 1 week after the injury. He is very active and will be playing football in college soon. We had a great discussion with his surgeon. We selected the patella ligament for the repairs. His surgery went extremely well. He has an small icing machine that works great and he started using a CPM machine on the third day. It has been 3 weeks since the surgery. He has full leg extension and is already flexing his knee 138%. He was walking without crutches after one week and will be removing the brace next week. (for walking only) He is doing many simple exercises on a daily basis to regain his strength in his leg and works with trainers twice a week. He is making amazing progress. Stay focused, it is tough, but set some goals and work hard. It is a fulfilling experience to see so much progress after a major surgery. Good Luck!

    1. I am 16 years old and had ACL meniscus and cartilage surgery on August 1. I tore it playing summer travel softball so my volleyball coach is not very happy because I would’ve been our starting setter this year. I was in a straight legged brace for 2 weeks walking with by the end and now in my what I call “bendy” sport brace and can walk decently good with my crutches and around my house without. I can bend it 115 degrees and straighten -2 which apparently is really good. I just lifted and held my leg up by myself today! It really isn’t as bad as I thought. Good luck to everyone!

    2. David Driscoll says:

      This is very encouraging news, I just learned of my ACL tear today and need to consult with a surgeon. I’m hoping my experience and recovery is as good as your son’s. (Though I’m 38 so I’m guessing it’ll be a little slower but, hopefully not too much)

  8. my ACL have torn in 2 months ago, some doctor tolled me , it better you do not surgery because of age, i am 52 years old. what must i do? please advise me.

    1. Bill Simons says:

      Sam I’m 56 yrs old I too have a torn ACL ,torn meniscus and a chipped piece of cartilage my Doctor said to me that if I wanted to be active again.( I still Ski and I’m an active sportsman) I should have the operation. I injured myself Feb.17th I’m due for a operation on June 28th

  9. I had ACL surgery about
    18yrs ago with a patelar tendon graft. One month ago I tore my graft in half, how would a surgeon go about reconstructing th knee this time?

  10. 61years old. I go under the knife in a couple of days. I’ll post my progress.

  11. Tore my ACL in my right knee playing footbal at the end of June. Had the surgery July 17th. I will be 3 weeks post surgery tomorrow. The first week was the worst, once you get beyond that the rest isn’t that bad. My experience has been that progress comes in bunches. I will have 2-3 great days with tremendous progress then 2-3 days with little to no progress. It is a slow long process that I am hoping is well worth it.

    P.S. – How many people have torn their repaired ligament? How sturdy will my replacement ACL be?

    1. aclsurgery says:

      Several people who have commented on this site have mentioned having a repaired ACL fail. Typically these are athletes or people very much into sports and in a % of the cases, probably returned too soon and put too much stress on the knee before it was 100% healed. Rehab, stretching, and strengthening, and rest will decrease your chances of that happening. Some people have reported more failures with hamstring. This may also be in part of doctor choice- not all of them will be as skilled in getting the fixation tight. Good luck!

  12. steve mashore says:

    NEW ACL,TRIMED 30 % MENISCUS IM 2 WEEK AND 3 DAYS AFTER SURGERY.WEEK 1 SPENT 4 DAYS IN BED, AND HAD TO GET OFF THE DRUGS.NOW ON MOTRON.STARTED ON CRUCHES FOR 5DAYS,NOW IM WALKING WORKING ON STRETCHING EVERY DAY.THEY DID NO WANT ME TO MOVE IT TILL WEEK 2.THANK GOD FOR MY GREAT WIFE SHE PUSHES DOWN ON MY LEG TO STRAIGHTEN IT OUT FOR ME.SHE DOES NOT WANT ME TO RACE DIRTBIKES ANYMORE IM 41 BY THE WAY.GOOD LUCK EVERYONE !!!!!

  13. Summer Peace says:

    I have ACL replacement surgery in 2 weeks. Its been over two months since my accident and I’m ready to be able to walk right again. I have surgery on the same knee for my meniscus back in 2006. After a few years I noticed that my knee was extremely unstable and I’m hoping that with this surgery I would stop having the feeling that my knees is just going to collapse on itself or twisting in half if I move wrong…..Wish me luck!

  14. Prashanth Gubbi says:

    Hi,
    I am 42 year old Indian born businessman in Africa. I had an accident in a motocross practice session in Africa. No good facilities here so had to be flown to India for surgery ( Fracture of neck and head of fibula and Tibial plateau fracture line along lateral aspect reaching articular surface and also grade 3 oblique tear of meniscus) . The fracture was fixed with two screws and released there is a complete ACL tear as well. I need to go through the ACL reconstruction but not sure of patella or hamstring harvesting. Its now 3 months after accident but not got my complete movement yet(110 degrees) after immobilisation.My knee is so painful everyday morning that I some times wonder if this pain will disappear at all. I have plans to quit my Motorsport and have a normal life style. Please some one suggest some thing. Thanks in advance.

  15. I’m 16 years old and I tore my ACL in dance a few days ago. I’m getting surgery soon and I’m absolutely terrified. I won’t be able to dance for 9 months which is devastating because I was looking forward to dancing in college. I’m just looking for a bit of advice.

    1. Hi Kelly-
      My daughter tore her acl and mcl skiing. She is 14. I was wondering how you are doing after your surgery? Any advice for her? she is also terrified.

  16. I have 2nd grade acl tear ,with contusions on lateral condyle of femur nd both lateral and medial condyle of tibia….my doc said it will be allright. In few days ….i consulted another ….he says i.should go for surgery .what should I do..

  17. Going in for acl surgery in 6 days, just cant wait to get my life back!

    1. I had my surgery and doing well. Not much pain walking with crutches and using my cpm machine.

  18. My Daughter just had surgery Dec. 31. “Happy New Year”. She is all year athlete. Volleyball, Softball, and Basketball, and all three in summer leagues. Needless to say, they said she would be out for 6-9 months. Since she is so competitive as she is, she said she would do it in 5 months. But our therapist gave us the best description i’ve heard.
    The first 6-8 weeks after surgery, is how long it takes for the hamstring muscle to die. The next 6-8 weeks, the transformation of the former hamstring, takes on the characteristics of a ligament. From that point, the next 6-8 is all strengthening of the muscles around the knee.
    Hope that helps.
    She is also well on her way. A week after the surgery, she is at 110 Degrees of bend. They were hoping for 90. I guess its an indication of successful surgery to meet that goal.

  19. Arnold Hill says:

    Question: My wife needs acl repair ,no insurance! Can anyone advise me of the cost? Ballpark is ok. thanks

  20. Arnold Hill says:

    Forget my last post. I hadn’t read enough. Looks like 15-20 grand.

  21. I’ve just had acl surgery on 11th feb 2013 in Switzerland. General anesthetic, op took about 30 mins. A lot of pain after coming round. Knee is swollen and stiff but in good shape. Had the ligament replaced with a hamstring tendon which was advised as definitely the best option.

    Had a full leg brace on for 48 hours but told not to use it after that. I have crutches but can put weight on leg and hobble around without them.

    Been booked for 3 months Physio which I think will be all important. I’ve been told no high impact sport for 10 months. Everything been laid for by works accident insurance.

    All in all a good experience. Apart from the cold, Switzerland is a very good place to have your acl surgery!

  22. I torn my ACL and meniscus from wrestling in 2009 and have not yet had surgery. Although, I have not done the surgery I still am able to work out in the gym every day and perform my activities in running, muay thai, and ju jitsu. However, my knee is very unstable and I still feel the pain in it so surgery would be a wise thing to get done.

  23. I just had my surgery last Tuesday. I had a complete ACL tear and a medial meniscus tear. The surgery was not bad at all. However I was not anticipating how bad the first week would be. It was a week today and the swelling is insane. My entire leg is swollen frommmy thigh down to my foot. I will have to wear a leg brace for 6 weeks and looks like crutches for a while as well. Elevating the leg with ce does seem to help. The best advice is to stay up with your physical therapy I started mine two days after surgery and have it three days a week for now. My physical therapist has been the best person to ask questions to. Lastly thr worstart is just not being able to do anything I am a very actives person ans laying around all the time is torture for me.

  24. I’m having acl surgery on 04/15/2013 I’m a little concern about a cadaver tendon im 46 if u have any comments ill apreciat it and thank u

  25. I tore my meniscus 2 tendons and killed my acl… im gettin ready yo have surgery and im scared stiff… just found this site sitting in my ortho office…

  26. Tore my ACL, posterior horn medial meniscus (complex tear) I have a bone bruise also? Had a pretty sh***y fall in Afghanistan, walked around just fine (this happened in January) it was swollen and couldn’t straighten my leg all the way. It seems as though I am fine now just fall a lot if I straighten or twist rapidly. Well, my surgery is on the 30th of this month…. Just wondering if recovery will be easier because of the limited pain now? I really don’t have much time to devote to recovering but need to do this surgery. Can someone tell me maybe helpful tips to speed up recovery… Ot at least ways to not slow it down?

  27. Victor how was the surgery? I’m 38 and getting mine replaced on the 19th with a cadaver as well. I’m a little nervous about it too

  28. I am only 13 and im getting surgery on my ACL. I am very worried that it won’t recover in time for soccer tryouts next year.

  29. Im 18 years old and I tore my ACL and MCL while brusing a few bones in a skiing accident. I had my surgery a month later. I felt great I was walking around without chrutches 5 days after. My recovery was going great or so I had thought.. I hit my three month mark and a few days later fell down the stairs and retore my ACL and tore my miniscus. My doctor hasnt been really helpfull with giving my information, how long of a recovery will it take? Will I have to give up my college athletic scholorship because of this?

  30. Can anyone here help me choose an insurance plan before I see an orthopaedic Dr.? There’s no pre existing condition on file, I was able to get an MRI through a friend of mine a few days ago without filling any paperwork out. It revealed I have a ruptured ACL and torn meniscus. Any suggestions would be highly appreciated, thanks for your time.

  31. I tore my lcl lateral meniscus and acl playing football. i am supposed to study abroad at the end of august in europe. i want to do my acl surgeru before i go if i cam weight bear soon enough should i be ok to go as long as i wear my brave there?

  32. I’m 15, tore my ACL and Medial Meniscus about a month ago playing soccer and had surgery about two weeks ago. I am still on crutches but have finally started to see definition in my quad muscle start to come back. Therapist says I should be walking in another week or so and I have started weight baring excises at therapy sessions. I have flexion of about 90-100 degrees if I work at is for a good ten minutes but I am worried about the extension. Will extension come once all the swelling is gone? And if so how long will it take for my swelling to leave?

  33. I completely tore my ACL & MCL during a skiing accident on 12-21-13. I had reconstructive ACL surgery yesterday, 1-10-14, using my hamstring. I had a femoral block that will numb your leg for almost a day. I definitely needed the pain pills because where they took the hamstring is hurting so bad. When I go from lying down to standing up, the pain pulls all through my leg. I’m not messing with the bandages that are under my compression wrap. They didn’t set my brace to any extension degrees either.
    They want me to start physical therapy in 2 days, but I just don’t see how. I can’t even imagine trying to walk either, but it seems a lot of people are.

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