Do I Have to Have Surgery for an ACL Tear
A common question among large numbers of patients with an ACL tear is if surgery is necessary. Orthopedic surgeons are the best professionals that can advise patients if surgical treatment is ideal or if alternative non-surgical treatments are sufficient enough. The following indicates whom, when, and why one needs surgery.
Indications for ACL Reconstruction Surgery
- Patients with periodic knee instability or giving away, in spite of 3 to 6 months of satisfactory physical therapy
- Patients suffering from an ACL tear or other ligament injuries or tears found in the same knee
- Athletes who frequently perform sports that involve landing, jumping, pivoting and cutting
- Patients with a torn ACL and a reparable MCL tear
Generally, orthopedic surgeons will nkt recommend ACL surgery unless the injured knee experiences a complete range of muscle control and thigh motion. In order for that to happen, it can take about 3 weeks or even longer. ACL surgical repair consists of replacing the torn ligament, as it is impossible to repair it by simply sewing it together. The result of a surgical repair is, however, not as good as the result of ACL reconstruction surgery.
The objective of surgery for an ACL tear is to reinstate the function of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. This means, an athlete with a torn ACL who underwent ACL reconstruction surgery is able to return to his sport of choice that entails cutting, pivoting, jumping, changing of direction, and landing.
Situations Where Surgery is Not Necessary
There are situations that do not require people with an ACL tear to undergo surgery:
- Patients who do not perform sports that involve jumping, cutting, pivoting, and landing
- People who exercise only by cycling, swimming or jogging
- People who demonstrate unwillingness or lack the ability to perform necessary physical therapy sessions or to complete the postoperative program
- Patients with severe knee arthritis
It is highly recommended that one obtains professional advice before one decides a treatment for the torn ACL.