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.

64 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. 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. 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.

      1. Which kind of ACL surgery did you wife choose? We are gathering information for our 18 year old son who tore it completely while skiing. Thank you.

        1. My daughter destroyed her ACL when she was 13 playing basketball. They used her hamstring to rebuild. I’ve researched it a lot and the hamstring has become the gold standard vs the patellar tendon for a graft. It is more flexible where the patellar is more rigid amd is known to cause more knee pain throughout life. Being 13 they had to use the hamstring too because it didn’t affect growth plates because it’s more flexible too. If you research I think you’ll find the hamstring is the preferred graft. My daughter has returned to sports and all is well so far , fingers crossed.

    2. sir , I have been told by my doctor that i have a general laxity in the ligaments of my body so will that be a complication to my ACL surgery

  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. 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.

  4. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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)

  7. 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. 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

  8. 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?

    1. I am interested to know if you had meniscus damage 18 years ago and if now you have OA as I have just had knee reconstruction and 3 menisci tears left in situ and my main worry is OA

    2. How are you doinf with OA . I had this procedure 4 months ago and I am 43 with meniscus tears the knee reco is well mastered nowdays but the path to OA is a much bigger issue and is only 5-10 years down the road. How old are you now ?

  9. 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. 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!

    2. Best of Luck to you. It is very common to tear it again or tear your meniscus My daughter has torn her ACL in the same knee 3 times. But we were told after the first surgery that the track the ACL runs through is very narrow. And this was her cause of tearing her ACL so easily. my daughter played D1 soccer (for the full length of every game) and she did not wear a brace and she had torn her repaired ACL. With the strength of core, hamstring and quad she was able to play at that level without having surgery. So the strength of the ACL is just a small factor on if you tear it again. Plus field conditions. Are you playing on turf? Or if you get hit wrong are all possible ways to tear the reconstructed ACL.


  11. 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!

  12. 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.

    1. My daughter has had double hamstring surgery. Then used a cadaver and had patellar tendon. She said the knee that had 3 surgeries (double hamstring, meniscus trimmed, then cadaver) had less pain than patella tendon procedure. It is very common to have lots of pain right after surgery and it lasts forever with patellar tendon option. She tore her ACL 4 times due to small track that ACL runs through. The most important thing is to find a doctor that performs the type of surgery you choose. Good luck

  13. 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.

    2. College coaches don’t look ACL repairs as a negative thing. Having the strength to rehab for 9 months shows determination and you can learn lots by still attending practice and listening to the comments coaches make while on the side line. My daughter got a nice scholarship for college, and coach knew about first ACL tear. Then when he came to watch a game she got hit and tore it again and he didn’t care. Still got same scholarship offer and tore other knee while in college. Still not an issue. Had surgery got released to play only to find out right knee was torn. With Dr approval she played w/o a brace and lots of conditioning and had a great season. Started every game and played 90+ min every game. Stay positive.

  14. 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..

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

    1. I feel your pain. I am 12 days post-op and that forst well was hard, especially since i had sural nerve compression. laying around made my back hurt and was just uncomfortable. My knee pain at knight is the worst, makes it hard to sleep.

  19. 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

  20. 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…

  21. 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?

  22. 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

    1. Hi Mike I had acl torn and meniscus tear at age of 52. I’m now 57 years old. I have golfed and bowled. I also had a cadaver put in also. Very important to do your P. T. Treatment. I’m back to 135 degree range of motion. P. T. Isn’t easy but well worth it. Also I recommend getting the surgery, it’s well worth it.

  23. 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.

  24. 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?

  25. 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.

  26. 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?

  27. 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?

  28. 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.

  29. My son completely tore his acl in his right knee in football. He is the captain of his ice hockey team and plans to wear a brace and try to play. Is there any parents going thru se experience out there?

  30. im 16. i tore my ACL and meniscus too i think and im getting surgery in 2 weeks. im really scared because i dont know if im going to be able to play soccer again? help? i also love to dance and model clothes but im scared that it will leave a scar? does it go away? is it big?

  31. I was told I need surgery due to my acl tear and that was back in June 2014 and I haven’t done it yet. Now over a year has passed and I have been frequently falling down. It seems like I’ve done more damage to it and my hip is pained every time I start to begin my day and still I’m falling down. I can see the bones of my knee on the inside between my legs and it hurts to touch it. Now I’m starting to have lower back pain and I can no longer walk without some kind of wrap with crutches or a cane. I can’t ride my bike and I’m unable to walk even a few steps. I suppose I may of injured more than my acl tear in my knee and I’ve been making plans to seek advise for treatment in surgery as too physical therapy. I’m 51 and has anyone experienced the falling and the pain in the hip and back area before surgery and what may happen if you haven’t had the surgery?. Thanks for letting me share. I feel more worried about them saying I need hip surgery now. Lol. Susan

  32. Hi I am 16 years old and completely tore my ACL playing basketball 3 weeks ago. I am scheduled to have surgery during thanksgiving break (so I won’t miss too much school) and I am super nervous, because I have never had to undergo surgery before or have any serious medical treatments. Although I tore my ACL, the doctor said I did not injure or tear anything else including my meniscus. I have heard that it is less painful and easier to recover if you just tore your ACL and was wondering if that was true? Also how long will you be in bed or at home for after the surgery? How long will you have to be on crutches? And on a scale of 1-10 how painful would you rate your knee for the first few weeks after surgery? Lastly, I am afraid of needles and can not handle seeing any blood, any recommendations on how to handle the surgery dealing with that too?
    Looking for good advice and what to be prepared for, anything will help. Thankyou!

  33. I have been without an ACL since I have been 13, I am now 66. As long as I exercised & kept my knee strong i was able to stay very physically active. I fell into a sink hole and tore both meniscus. Dr. recommends a new ACL from my hamstring and cleaning up the miniscus. I was hoping just cleaning up the miniscus would make my knee more stable without going through the new ACL long recovery. Has anyone else had a similar experience? I am so nervous as surgery is in a week, and have no peace about it.

  34. Worried about laxity or repture of hamstring graft. 2 weeks post reconstruction , what scares me the most is thought of stretching the graft . How do I protect it ?? Should I be constantly worried about it )

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