Why would I want an ACL repair instead of an ACL reconstruction?
Based on the individual needs of the patient, an ACL repair may be the best treatment option. Repairing the ACL allows for the patient to retain the original ligament without the need for a ligament graft. The goal of the repair is to stabilize the knee while allowing for proper healing. Dr. Nwachukwu may augment the repair with biological treatments such as bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC).
What is the difference between ACL repair and ACL reconstruction?
During an ACL repair, the original ligament remains in place and is either sutured together or augmented to allow proper healing. An ACL reconstruction removes the original ligament and replaces it with a graft from the patient (autograft) or from a donor bank (allograft). Either surgery can achieve the goal of stabilizing the knee if done by an experienced complex knee surgeon like Dr. Nwachukwu.
How long does it take to heal after an ACL repair?
ACL repair can be done in an outpatient setting, allowing the patient to go home the same day. Pain medication is administered and to be used only as directed. Ice, elevating the knee, and a CPM (continuous passive motion) device may be used at home. The post-surgical protocol is similar to an ACL reconstruction, in which exercises will be given and the patient will progress to physical therapy to regain strength and range of motion.
Recovery times will vary slightly depending on the patient’s age, activity level and underlying health conditions. In general, patients can expect to return to work in about 5 days with some restriction. In 6-12 weeks, normal activities can be resumed with a full return to sport in 7 to 9 months.