In many cases, surgery to repair an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) fully restores the functioning of the knee.

ACL surgery will improve the stability of your knee and stop it giving way. You should be able to resume normal activities after 6 months.

But your knee may not be exactly like it was before the injury. You may still experience some pain and swelling in the replacement ligament.

If other structures in your knee are also damaged, it may not be possible to fully repair them.

As with all types of surgery, there are some risks associated with knee surgery.

They include:

After ACL surgery, there's also a small chance that the newly-grafted ligament will fail and your knee will still be unstable.

If the first operation is unsuccessful, further surgery may be recommended. But subsequent operations are often more difficult and do not usually have the same long-term success rate as a first tendon repair.

Page last reviewed: 15 September 2021
Next review due: 15 September 2024