About the author:

Howard J. Luks, MD

Howard J. Luks, MD

A Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Hawthorne, NY. Dr. Howard Luks specializes in the treatment of the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle. He has a very "social" patient centric approach and believes that the more you understand about your issue, the more informed your decisions will be. Ultimately your treatments and his recommendations will be based on proper communications, proper understanding, and shared decision-making principles – all geared to improve your quality of life.

7 comments on “Can I Return To Sports After Revision ACL Surgery

  • Dear Dr. Luks, our now 14 year old son had a complete ACL tear March 2015. He had surgery April 2015 using his hamstring. The surgeon needed to avoid his growth plates. All went great. He rehabbed and was practicing baseball and heard a dreaded pop Feb 2016. We had an MRI done 2/22/16 which showed at least a partial tear but it was possible that the graft was partially in tact. We met with the surgeon and he told us that based upon the exam his knee would need a second surgery and recommended an allograft. My son is stilll growing and did PT for 6 weeks before second surgery. We had a final exam this week before the second surgery. The surgeon said the knee is now much more stable, he did the lochman test and said his knee now has an endpoint that was not there in February. It is still not perfect, but he thinks it maybe healing. We will get another MRI, but the surgeon has canceled the second surgery. He said if my son needs a second surgery, we should wait until he is skeletal mature and then due a BPB graft. My son says his knee feels great, no instability, runs, jumps and cuts without any instability to this point.(Nethier pops resulted in any meniscus or other damage) Surgeon says he can play baseball now, but needs to use his Donjoy brace and may want to do a platelet infusion to further healing.

    Dr Luks, Do you think a partially torn hamstring graft can repair itself? Do you think a revision surgery should wait until maturity and closed growth plates? What are your thoughts on Platelet infusion? Any other advice on this situation?

    Thank you!

  • Hi Dr. Luke, thank you for sharing all your wisdom about the different types of surgeries. I did a lot of research before having patellar tendon ACL reconstructive surgery and your site has truly been the most informative and helpful.

    To give you a quick background about myself, I tore my ACL, medial and lateral meniscus on my left leg from a downhill mountain biking accident. My lateral meniscus was deburred where the complex tear was located and my medial was left alone because the peripheral tear was in the red zone. Trust me, I’m no Doctor or med student but I did my homework to become a well informed patient. Being a 30 year old active male, I do not regret my decision having this surgery. Prior to having surgery, I didn’t have knee control or balance without having my McDavid level 3 brace. Therefore, returning to my active lifestyle was a must and surgery was inevitable.

    After reading through your blogs, I haven’t been able to read anything on recovering patients. I’m currently in my 10th week post surgery, keeping up with therapy and rehabbing daily at the gym. I’m concerned with having full extension because I have to stretch every morning and night to accomplish this. I’m off by 2-4 degrees daily when I wake up or as the day progresses and I’m off my leg. Would you consider this normal from your professional opinion? What exercises should I perform to strengthen my leg to have full extension?

    Thanks for all the help,

    • Physical therapy is really one of the most critical aspects of recovering from an ACL reconstruction. Without proper PT you are at risk of having a poor result or potentially having another tear. Getting back full extension is critical so keep pushing it. Having a little difficulty in getting full extension is pretty normal for most people… but they do get it back with effort.

  • Hi Dr. Luke,
    3 years back, I had a very unfortunate event in which I tore my ACL and medial meniscus (bucket handle tear). On March 26th 2015, I had an ACL Reconstruction+OATS. Recovery was going really good till the 4th Month. In my 5th month post operation, while I was jogging, I twisted my knee and ended up with a lot of pain and swelling. My surgeon told me that my ACL Graft tore partially and that I needed another surgery because my knee was very lax. Anyway, after 2 years from that incident, I underwent ACL Revision Reconstruction on 19th June 2017 from a different surgeon. Right now, it’s my 6 weeks post operation and I feel some discomfort in my knee. My tibia shifts forward, there were frequent episodes in which I had little twists in my knee. I have full flexion too. I talked about this to the surgeon and he said that it’s happening because it’s my second surgery. (He confirmed that after doing Lachman Test and Anterior Drawer Test). My question is, is there really some laxity after Revision ACL Surgery?

    • There shouldn’t be… but revision ACL surgery does not have the same success rate as the primary or first ACL surgery.

  • I have an 18 yo son who is about to go play D1 lacrosse. He tore his right ACL 20 months ago and just tore his left ACL. What are his chances of ACL injury ? Do we insist he quits playing?
    Thank you

    • An athlete who tears their ACL has a 20-30% chance of injuring the ACL in the other leg or the rehabilitated leg. Some parents do make the tough decision to stop participation in sports. Many more will delay that decision until after the same knee has been injured twice. This is not an easy decision to make. If you and your son elect to continue to participate in sports you must have him and hopefully, his whole team— adopt the FIFA11 ACL prevention program. It’s a simple 20 min pre-practice, pre-game process that is proven to dramatically decrease the risk of ACL injuries.

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