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ACL Surgery: How Easy Is It to Retear The ACL After Surgery?


Many people are hesitant to undergo ACL reconstruction surgery because they are worried about the thought of

“How easy is it to retear ACL after surgery?”

But, in all honesty, it’s natural to feel anxious after a torn ACL. You’ve just gone through a major injury, and you’re probably wondering what the future holds. 

Regardless, it’s important to understand how easy it is to retear an ACL after surgery before deciding whether or not to have the procedure done. In this blog post, we will explore the likelihood of tearing your ACL again after surgery, and we will also provide some tips on how to reduce your risk of re-tear.

What is an ACL

To review, the ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the four main ligaments that stabilize the knee joint. It connects the femur, or thighbone, to the tibia, or shinbone. Also, it connects the quadriceps tendon to the knee joint. The ACL runs diagonally through the knee, and its main function is to prevent the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur. The ACL also helps to stabilize the knee when twisting or turning.

Injury to the ACL is fairly common, particularly in athletes who participate in sports that involve jumping or cutting movements. In the United States, it’s estimated that there are over 100,000 ACL injuries each year. In some cases, allograft tissue may be used to replace the ACL.

What causes an ACL injury

ACL injuries are torn ligaments that cause immense pain and instability in the knee. These types of injuries can be especially devastating for young athletes who are in the middle of their careers. There are also times you wouldn’t be aware you’re ACL is torn.

While anyone can suffer an ACL tear, certain risk factors make some people more susceptible to the injury.

For example, people who participate in high-impact sports such as football or basketball are at a higher risk for ACL injuries. This is because the sudden movements and changes in direction associated with these sports can put a lot of stress on the ligaments. Additionally, female athletes are also more likely to suffer ACL tears than men since their ligaments are typically laxer.

There are also several potential reasons why someone might be more likely to suffer an ACL tear, such as having weak muscles around the knee joint or having poor balance. Regardless of the underlying cause, ACL tears can be extremely painful and debilitating injuries. It’s also possible to experience a second ACL injury if you’re not careful. The good news is, that there’s a 97% success rate for primary ACL reconstruction. 


Can an ACL heal without surgery?

For people who lead an active lifestyle, nonsurgical treatment may be the best option for ACL repair. Rehabilitation exercises, physical therapy, and weight management can strengthen the muscles around the knee and improve joint stability. In some cases, a knee brace may also help.

It may also be necessary to get an MRI scan to rule out any other potential injuries. With proper treatment, an ACL injury can heal without surgery. However, surgery is the best option to experience maximum results. This will involve reconstructing the ligament using allograft tissue or autograft tissue.

How long is ACL reconstruction

Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction is a commonly performed surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The surgery involves removing the damaged ACL and replacing it with a healthy graft. The choice of graft is a major factor in determining the success of the surgery and the length of the recovery.

The most common graft choice is a hamstring tendon or a patellar tendon. Both options are effective in restoring knee stability. However, the patellar tendon graft typically has a longer recovery time due to the increased stress on the kneecap. For this reason, many surgeons recommend a hamstring tendon graft for young athletes who want to return to their sport as quickly as possible.

Your sports medicine expert will determine the best way to proceed based on the severity of your injury. In some cases, the ligament can be repaired. However, in other cases, it may need to be replaced with a graft. The choice of graft will depend on several factors, including your age, activity level, and overall health.

The rehabilitation process following revision ACL reconstruction is critical for a successful outcome. A typical rehabilitation program lasts 6-9 months and includes a gradual return to activity. Most athletes can return to their previous level of competition within 12 months of surgery.

How easy is it to retear ACL after surgery

The chances of re-injuring your ACL after surgery are quite high. About 50% of people who tear their ACL will go on to have at least one more surgery. Many factors contribute to this, but the most important one is the type of surgery you had.

If you had a small incision and the surgical technique was done arthroscopically, then the chances of re-tearing your ACL are much lower. On the other hand, a re-tear can happen if the orthopedic surgeon uses a new graft that doesn’t match the surrounding tissue well.

Many other factors can contribute to re-tearing your ACL, such as how active you are after surgery, how well you follow your rehabilitation protocol, and how strong your muscles are. However, the type of surgery is the most important factor in determining how easy it is to retear ACL after surgery.


Mental Health check-ins matter

Mental health is an often overlooked aspect of ACL injuries. While the physical pain and rehabilitation process can be overwhelming, the psychological impact of an ACL injury should not be underestimated.

Many patients struggle with anxiety, depression, and PTSD in the aftermath of an injury. It can be difficult to accept that your body is no longer capable of doing the things you once took for granted. For athletes, in particular, ACL injuries can be shattering. Their identity and self-worth are often so closely linked to their ability to perform that an injury can feel like a personal failure.

It’s important to seek professional help if you are struggling to cope with an ACL injury. Mental health professionals can provide support and guidance through this difficult time. With their help, you can start to rebuild your life after an ACL injury.

Rehabilitation is the key

Even with a new ACL, there would be a lot of scar tissue and damage to the surrounding muscles and ligaments. Physical therapy helps to break up that scar tissue and increase blood flow to the area so that the muscles can heal properly. Months of physical therapy are essential to regain knee strength and a full range of motion.

A physical therapist can develop a specifically tailored exercise program that will help you reach your rehabilitation goals. ACL rehabilitation can be challenging, but it’s important to stick with it. Rehabilitation helps ensure a successful ACL surgery and allows you to get back to living your life.

If you’re looking for a physical therapist, it’s important to find one who is experienced and knowledgeable in the specific area that you need help with. By taking the time to find a qualified and compatible physical therapist, you can ensure that you’re getting the best possible care.