ACL reconstruction is a surgery that repairs a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), one of the major ligaments in the knee that helps guide the shin bone through a normal range of motion. In some patients, a reconstruction of an ACL tear may fail and a revision may be required. This is known as revision ACL reconstruction surgery.revision-acl-surgery-knee-surgery-los-angeles

At the Knee Surgery Center of Excellence, our orthopedic surgeons in Los Angeles formulate individualized treatment plans for patients with all different types of knee conditions. Patients receive an unparalleled quality of care at our world-renowned facilities and benefit from our knowledge and expertise in the very latest revisional knee surgery procedures.

To schedule a consultation with one of our knee surgeons, contact us at (310) 360-9119. Additionally, if you would like to learn more about revision ACL surgery, please visit

Reasons for Revision Surgery

Symptoms of a failed ACL reconstruction may include knee pain, stiffness and instability. There are numerous reasons why revision ACL surgery may be required including:

  • Failure of the graft
  • Improper placement of drill holes leading to graft fixation failure
  • Scar tissue formation
  • Other types of knee and leg injuries that result in damage to the original ACL repair

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Procedure for Revision ACL Surgery

First, a rigorous evaluation – including learning the history of the patient, performing a physical exam, and utilizing X-rays and MRI – is performed to determine the cause of the ACL reconstruction failure.

An arthroscopic surgery may be required to remove old screws or fixation devices and fill graft tunnels using bone plugs. A realignment of the knee may also be required to give second procedure a better chance of being successful. If such surgeries are required, it may take several months to allow them to heal before the surgeon can perform a revision surgery. Once healed, a second surgery is performed in which new holes are drilled and the revision ACL surgery takes place.

Rehabilitation After Revisional ACL Surgery

The rehabilitation required after revision anterior cruciate ligament surgery is similar to that which is required after primary reconstruction surgery. Rehabilitation will be individualized for each patient based on the intricacies of their surgery. More time may be given, compared to primary ACL surgery, before weight bearing activities are allowed. A return to sports may also take more time.

Therapy programs will be tailored to the type of graft used in the surgery. Patients should keep in mind that revision ACL surgeries have less predictable results than primary ACL surgeries. Therefore, it is critical that they protect the reconstructed knee well and allow it to heal.

Revision Surgery FAQ’s

Q: How commonly do ACL reconstructions fail?

A: The Southern California Orthopedic Institute estimates that 100,000 ACL reconstructions are performed yearly. About10 to 20 percent of them are unsuccessful.

Q: Will I have options as to what type of graft is used during my revision surgery?

A: Graft choices will be discussed with your surgeon, and the type of graft chosen will depend on many factors. You may be given the option to use your own ligaments (autografts) or donated ligaments (allografts) for your surgery.

Q: How long will I be in pain after revision ACL surgery?

A: Acute pain from the surgery will only last a few days, during which time you will be prescribed pain medication. It is not uncommon for there to be some soreness and swelling for a few months after surgery.

Q: Will I ever be able to run again after a revision ACL reconstruction surgery?

A: If all is proceeding normally after surgery, you will be able to run in 4 months. If you have existing joint arthritis, you will be advised to avoid high impact activities and focus on low-impact activities like cycling and swimming.

Contact Los Angeles Orthopedic Surgeon

The Knee Surgery Center of Excellence boasts some of the most renowned orthopedic surgeons in the country, and our doctors utilize the latest and most effective procedures when performing revision ACL reconstruction surgeries. To schedule a consultation with one of our talented orthopedic surgeons, call (310) 360-9119 or fill out our contact form.

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