ACL Reconstruction Surgery

ACL Reconstruction Surgery

During ACL reconstruction surgery, our orthopedic surgeon will create a new ACL for you using the strongest type of graft available: a piece of tendon from the knee.

How we do ACL reconstruction

There are 2 parts to ACL reconstruction at Shelbourne Knee Center:

  1. Arthroscopy to examine the knee and take the knee tendon graft
  2. Surgery to reconstruct the ACL


We begin ACL reconstruction using arthroscopy on the injured knee to:

If there are other injuries, the orthopedic surgeon may treat them.

In arthroscopy, the orthopedic surgeon makes a few small incisions—each about the size of a buttonhole. He inserts a tiny camera through one incision, which shows the inside of the knee on a high-definition video monitor.

The surgeon inserts tiny instruments into the other incisions to examine the knee and make some types of repairs. 

The Knee Tendon

Next, the orthopedic surgeon uses arthroscopy to takes a piece of knee tendon along with small pieces of bone from the knee cap and shin to use for the ACL graft. Usually, we let you choose which knee to use for the graft. Sometimes there are medical reasons for us to recommend taking the tendon from the injured knee.

Our research shows that taking the tendon from the non-injured knee helps you recover faster and more predictably.

Surgery to reconstruct the ACL

To reconstruct the ACL, the orthopedic surgeon makes a 3” incision in the front of the knee. He then removes the damaged ACL and cleans the area around it (called the notch) to make room for the new ACL.

The orthopedic surgeon drills 2 tunnels through the shinbone and thighbone to position the graft. He puts each of the bony ends of the graft into the tunnels and pulls the graft into position. The bony ends are called bone plugs. The graft runs between the shinbone and thighbone in the same direction as the original ACL.

The surgeon uses stitches threaded through a button to hold the bone plugs in the drill holes. 

Your anesthesia and hospital stay

We use general anesthesia for ACL reconstruction. General anesthesia puts you to sleep and prevents you from feeling pain during surgery. It’s usually a combination of drugs given through a vein (intravenous drugs) and inhaled gasses (anesthetics).

You’ll be in the hospital overnight. Post-op physical therapy starts while you’re in the hospital.