ZocdocAnswersI tore my acl 3 years ago. Can I have surgery now?

Question

I tore my acl 3 years ago. Can I have surgery now?

I first tore my acl April 2010 and had acl reconstructive surgery August 2010 but I tore my acl again March 2011 at physical therapy. I went into surgery April 2011 but they ended up not being able to do reconstructive surgery because the canals they made for the graphs the first surgery had too much swelling and enlarged too much. They ended up just doing bone graphs and cleaning out all of the scar tissue. It's been almost 3 years. Doctor wanted me to have the surgery 6 months after the bone graphs but due to insurance issues I wasn't able to. Now I have great insurance and was wondering if after most 3 years if I could still have the surgery?

Answer

I am sorry to hear about all the difficulty you have had with your knee. Given your multiple operations, this is a complex case. I strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in knee surgeries. After reviewing your prior scans and performing a thorough history and physical exam, they will be able to tell you whether repeat surgery is possible. In general, repeat surgeries are always higher risk. This is because scar tissue forms after surgery. Additionally, you are at higher risk for infection with each surgery. As your previous surgeon mentioned, too much inflammation can increase the risk of a poor surgical outcome, and surgeries often much be deferred. This does not mean surgery is not an option, but you will need to discuss these concerns with an orthopedic surgeon. In addition to the question of whether you can undergo surgery, it is also important to determine if you still need surgery. This will depend on the degree of the ACL tear as well as how it impacts your functional status and ability to perform the activities you wish to perform. Only an orthopedic surgeon can determine if the surgery is still indicated, and I encourage you to schedule an appointment to discuss this.

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