Minimally Invasive Surgery for an ACL Tear: What to Expect

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a fibrous band of tissue in your knee that connects your thigh bone and shin bone. It’s essential for joint stability and motion. Unfortunately, ACL tears are some of the most common sports injuries — affecting several hundred thousand athletes every year.

Abrupt changes in direction, stopping, jumping, and landing can all force your ACL beyond its usual range of motion, resulting in a tear. When your ACL tears, it separates from the bones in your knee.

Common symptoms include swelling, pain, and the inability to bear weight on your leg. Mild strains and tears may heal with rest and rehabilitation, but if your ACL tear is severe, you might need surgery.

Aron Rovner, MD, and our sports medicine team at New York Spine and Sports Surgery regularly repair ACL tears with minimally invasive surgery. If you’re considering surgery for ACL repair, it’s time to learn more about the benefits of minimally invasive techniques. 

What happens during minimally invasive ACL surgery

Minimally invasive ACL repair is a surgical procedure that takes about 2-3 hours in the operating room. Our team puts you under general anesthesia so you don’t feel pain during surgery.

Dr. Rovner uses arthroscopy to perform ACL repairs. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique that relies on a few small incisions around the joint. He inserts a very small camera through one incision, which captures images inside your knee.

Our surgical team views your knee on a nearby screen, eliminating the need for open surgery. Dr. Rovner accesses your torn ACL with specialized tools and performs the repair.

Most of the time, ACL tears can’t be repaired by stitching the torn ligament back together. Instead, reconstruction with a tissue graft is often necessary to repair the ACL and restore joint stability.

Tissue grafts use donor tissue to reconstruct the torn ligament. Sometimes, the graft is taken from somewhere else in your body, like your patellar or hamstring tendon. In other cases, the graft may come from a deceased donor.

Once your ACL reconstruction is complete, our team closes your incisions, and you’re moved to a recovery room.

Recovering from ACL repair surgery

Minimally invasive surgery offers a variety of benefits over traditional open surgery. Arthroscopy is generally less traumatic on your joint, which means you should experience less pain and a faster recovery.

Most people who undergo ACL repair with minimally invasive surgery don’t need to stay in the hospital overnight. But you’ll need someone to drive you home and stay with you for a day or two as you recover.

Although minimally invasive surgery offers improved outcomes, it can still take six months or longer to fully recover from your ACL tear. Dr. Rovner and our team work with you to develop a comprehensive recovery plan that includes rehabilitation and physical therapy to restore motion in your joint and rebuild strength.

Completing your physical therapy program after ACL surgery is the best way to ensure your body heals properly. Maintaining a physical therapy routine that includes stretching and strengthening exercises helps reduce your risk of suffering another ACL injury once you return to sports. 

Don’t let an ACL injury stop you from enjoying your favorite activities. If you’ve suffered a knee injury, find personalized care with us at New York Spine and Sports Surgery. Contact our team online or over the phone for a consultation. 

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