Clinical Hub,Patient Education,Health and Nutrition Facts For You,Orthopedics

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction (5061)

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction (5061) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Orthopedics


Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Your Pre-surgery Work Up
A date will be made for you to be seen by a
Physical Therapist (PT). At this time you
will be given exercise instructions.

You will also have a date made for you to be
seen in the Sports Medicine Clinic. You
will be seen by the Sports Medicine RN, the
Physician Assistant, and your surgeon. The
Sports Medicine RN will talk with you
about how to get ready for your surgery.
You will have a physical exam and the
surgery will be explained to you by the
Physician Assistant and your surgeon. You
will sign your consent forms.

Please reveiw the Total Care online teaching
tool for ACL reconstruction that was sent to
you by e-mail when you scheduled your

You will be given prescriptions for pain
medicine at your work-up. Be sure to take
these to your Pharmacy and have ready
before the day of your surgery. This
medicine is for after your surgery. We will
tell you how to take them.

On the day of your work-up, you will make
an appointment for a clinic visit after
surgery. Your first PT visit(s) should also be
scheduled before your surgery.

Anesthesia for ACL Reconstruction
Prior to surgery, staff will discuss your
options such as having general or epidural
anesthesia. You may also be offered a nerve
block. The nerve block is done either before
or after surgery. The nerve block will help
lessen your pain for a few hours or more
after surgery. It is important to stay on top of
your pain by also taking the oral pain
medicine as directed. If you have continued
numbness or tingling once the block has
worn off, notify your doctor.

After surgery you will be in your brace up to
4 weeks. Your doctor or PT will decide
when you are ready to walk without your

Patients having ACL reconstruction go
home the same day.

Dr. Baer, Dr. Walczak and Dr. Spiker
ξ PT should be scheduled for 1-3 days
after surgery. Your dressing will be
changed and the ice unit pad
removed. You will be told how to
do home exercises. Schedule your
PT appointments before surgery.
ξ You can shower 3 days after
surgery. Shower with your brace on
covering it with a plastic bag. Tape
or tie the top of the bag so you do not
get the brace wet.
ξ After your 1 week post-op visit, you
can shower out of the brace. You
can then let the water run over the
incisions while you shower.
ξ After you shower put the brace on
and lock. Place new band aids on
the incisions after you shower.
ξ Do not put the incisions under water
for 3 weeks. No swimming, hot tub
or tub baths.
ξ You will return to PT the week after
ξ You will return to the clinic one
week after surgery. Your stitches
will be taken out at this time.

Dr. Scerpella
ξ PT should be scheduled for 3-4 days
after surgery. Your dressing will be
changed and the ice unit pad
removed. You will be told how to
do home exercises. Schedule your
PT appointments before
surgeryYou can shower 3 days after
your surgery. Shower in the brace,
covering it with a plastic bag and
taping or tying the bag at the top to
keep the incisions and brace dry.
ξ Shower in the brace until you no
longer need to wear the brace to
control your leg.
ξ You will return to the clinic to see
Dr. Scerpella about one week after
your surgery (this will be scheduled
for you before your surgery).

All patients
A white TED stocking will be put on your
other leg at the time of surgery. The TED
stocking helps to prevent a blood clot from
forming in your leg.
ξ You may stop wearing the TED
stocking after 24 hours or when you
are up and around. Once you are
walking frequently through the day,
you no longer need to wear the
ξ If you have pain, swelling, warmth
or redness in your calf area in either
leg, call the doctor. This could be a
sign that you have a blood clot.
ξ Do not plan any traveling in an
airplane for 2 weeks after your
surgery. Traveling in an airplane too
soon after surgery may cause a blood
clot in your leg.

Do not drive while you are taking the pain
medicine. If the ACL surgery was done on
your right leg, you should not drive until
your brace is unlocked. This may be 2
weeks or more.
The ability to return to work or school varies
for each person. Many people are off work
for 7-14 days. Talk with your doctor about
when you may return to work or school.

ξ Use the ice unit to help with swelling
and pain. You may leave the ice
machine on (lowest setting) through
the first night after surgery. If too
cold, you can turn the unit off for a
few hours. Starting the day after
surgery, you should use the ice unit
one hour on and one-two hours off as
needed. You will use the ice unit
often during the first 1-2 weeks after
surgery. The ice unit will help with
pain after you have PT.
ξ Use your pain pills as instructed and
be sure to eat something to avoid
nausea. It is important to stay on top
of your pain by taking these pain
meds as directed. Do not drive or
operate machines while you are
taking narcotics. You may also
take anti-inflammatory pills.
Ibuprofen, Naproxen or Ketoralac
(Toradol) to help reduce the swelling
and control your pain.

How to Use the Cooler:
ξ First fill to the top of the blue mark
with water.
ξ Next, fill to the top of the yellow
mark with ice.
ξ Start with the dial turned to “max”
flow rate. If it feels too cold, you
can turn the dial down as needed.
ξ Connect the hose couplings. You’ll
hear 2 “clicks”.
ξ Plug the adaptor in to start the unit
ξ Refill the ice and water every 4
hours during the first night after

To disconnect:
ξ Unplug the cooler.
ξ Press both couplings to separate the
hoses. A few drops of water will drip
from hoses.

If the cooler does not seem to be cooling
ξ Check couplings to see if securely
ξ Check hoses for bends/kinks.
ξ Check pad for bends/folds.
ξ Check the level of ice and water in
the cooler.
ξ Check to make sure that the unit is
plugged in.

When to Call the Doctor/Clinic
ξ Nausea/vomiting lasting more than
24 hours.
ξ If you have not had a bowel
movement in 3 days.
ξ Pus like drainage
ξ Increased redness or warmth at the
incision sites.
ξ Excess swelling or bleeding
ξ Excessive drainage. Bleeding from
incision site does not stop after 10
minutes of firm pressure.
ξ Extreme bruising
ξ Sudden shortness of breath
ξ Cramping or swelling in operative
ξ Leg or foot becomes cool or dark
ξ Leg or foot becomes numb or
ξ Pain not relieved by pain pills,
elevation and ice.

Phone Numbers
Please call if you have any questions or

Sports Medicine Clinic
Monday-Friday 8am-5pm
(608) 263-8850

After hours call the clinic number and your
call will be forward to the paging operator.
Ask for the orthopedic resident on call.
Leave your name and phone number. The
doctor will call you back.

24 Hour Toll Free Number

The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #6394.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 11/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing HF#5061.