ACL Reconstruction Surgery Q&A
The ACL is a ligament that connects the shin bone to the thigh bone. Physical activity, especially in sports, can cause the ligament to tear, leading to knee swelling, instability, and discomfort. Dr. Paul Dicpinigaitis MD offers ACL reconstruction surgery to restore complete knee function. For more information, contact us or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located at 5840 Merrick Road Massapequa, NY 11758.
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By general definition, major surgeries occur when a surgeon performs a procedure on an open area of the body with the patient under general anesthesia. Major surgeries are typically inpatient procedures, meaning that an overnight stay in a hospital is required, and involve a lengthy recovery time.
In contrast, minor surgeries are often performed laparoscopically or arthroscopically under local or regional anesthesia, which involves small incisions and the insertion of a small camera and surgical tools that allow the surgeon to perform the procedure without opening up the area. Minor surgeries are typically outpatient procedures, which means that hospitalization is not required, and the patient can leave the same day.
By such definitions, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery can be either major or minor surgery, depending on the method your doctor uses. Moreover, ACL surgeries often walk the line between minor and major surgeries because of the lengthy recovery period involved and the use of general anesthesia. ACL surgeries can either be performed on an open area of the body or arthroscopically, although the latter is the usual method of choice. They also do not typically require hospitalization.
Examples of major surgeries include cesarean section, organ transplants, joint replacements, hysterectomies, heart surgeries, and bariatric surgeries. Minor surgeries include arthroscopy and laparoscopy, dental restorations, cataract surgery, and gallbladder surgery.
There are various stages to recovery from ACL surgery, which will be helped through physical therapy, knee support, and anti-inflammatory medication.
During the first two weeks, your ability to bear weight on the affected knee will be significantly reduced. As such, this period will involve extended periods of rest and elevating the knee, and any movement will require the use of crutches.
Within two to six weeks after surgery, your ability to bear weight on the affected knee should improve, but crutches are still recommended during this stage.
In the next six weeks to three months, your ability to use your knee may improve to the extent that you can do light activity, such as swimming or cycling, with your doctor’s approval.
Sometime in the next six to twelve months, you should be able to return to regular activity with a full recovery.
ACL surgery is usually performed with the patient under general or local anesthesia. As a result, you should not feel any pain during the surgery. With general anesthesia, patients are put into a medically induced coma, which means that the signals between your brain and body are temporarily interrupted, preventing you from feeling pain during the surgery. It is an entirely safe procedure. With regional or local anesthesia, signals between your brain and body are interrupted only in the treatment area so that you do not feel anything in the procedure site.
According to a recent study in the National Institutes of Health, 75 to 97 percent of patients experience satisfactory or better results from ACL reconstruction surgery! As a result, the lion’s share of patients who have ACL reconstruction surgery are happy with their results. In the small chance that an ACL reconstruction surgery fails, doctors typically recommend ACL revision surgery, which involves a comprehensive evaluation of why the initial surgery failed, usually due to technical errors, and responds with the appropriate measures.
If you are interested in learning more about ACL reconstruction surgery or scheduling an appointment with us, we would love to hear from you at Dr. Paul Dicpinigaitis, MD! We welcome you to schedule an appointment with us through our website or call us anytime between 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Monday to Thursday or on Fridays from 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM.