ACL Reconstruction – It’s All About Timing

This 2014 review published by the National Library of Medicine states that there is no consensus as to the optimal timing of ACL reconstruction, but waiting at least three weeks lowers the risk of arthrofibrosis (knee stiffness due to scarring after surgery).


Injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the most common ligamentous injury, ranging from up to 200,000 injuries per year in the United States. Sports such as soccer, football, and skiing have been reported to be high-risk sports that can cause injury to the ACL when compared to other sport activities. Due to the high incidence of ACL injuries, approximately 100,000 ACL reconstructions are performed each year. Although conservative treatment can potentially be successful in the appropriate population, patients with goals of returning to high levels of sport activity may not be successful with conservative treatment. Even though reconstruction is the most common treatment for ACL rupture, there remains debate in the literature regarding the optimal timing of surgery. Therefore, the purpose of this clinical commentary is to review the available evidence to provide insight into the optimal timing of ACL reconstruction.

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