Sarah's Second ACL Surgery on the same knee

by Sarah
(PA)

So here I am again faced with learning how to walk for the 5th time in my life. This will be my second ACL reconstruction on the same knee. I feel more aprehensive about it than I did the first time. Sometimes ingnorance truly is bliss. The first time I had really no idea what I was getting into. I just wanted to be fixed and able to play sports again. My first injury was a complete rupture of the ACL and MCL, no meniscal tears at all. My leg was blown up like a balloon and I rehab'd the MCL for 8 weeks and then had surgery. I used a patellar graft for my first reconstruction and rehab was very different than it is now. I was very self disciplined and had a fantastic recovery. I was able to walk with a funny gait, no crutches and drive my manual transmission car 8 days post-op. I returned to work missing only 5 days of work with no crutches. I gained full range of motion and returned to vball 5 1/2mo post-op!!! That ACL graft held true and strong for 10 years until I re-injured it in vball, again! I'm a very active person, running half marathons, biking centuries and continually playing vball 2-3x a week. I never had any problems with my reconstruction and was very happy with the results, strength of me knee and agility!
Now I am apprehensive about the second surgery. I'm going with an allograft because I can't bear to lose any strength in my hamstrings if I did the hamstring graft. I'm nervous about infection, rejection and filling in the tunnels from the previous graft. I'm still fairly young and healing should be quick but I'm still very nervous about the amount of work that needs to be done.


I'm also very mixed about the rehab. I had a fantastic rehab with my first reconstruction which was very aggressive and when I speak to PT's today about my previous rehab, they are alarmed. But I had such great success with it. No issues at all..I worry about my new rehab as I have a feeling it will be much more conservative than I'd like. While I completely understand the reasons for conservatism it's also hard to swallow given the success I've had before.
I realize I will only be able to do what my body tells me I can handle. But what I can handle can be a lot. The last few weeks I've been jogging 6-7 mi a week and biking about 10mi a week with no brace. sounds dumb I know...but I actually have little to no pain, slight swelling and improved mobility. I haven't tried jumping or cutting or anything like that but running doesn't feel uncomfortable at all.
I hope that my surgery tomorrow is as successful as the first. I will be sadly disappointed if it's not. But time will tell.
If anyone has experience with a second surgery on the same knee I'd love to hear about it. I'm really concerned about having the screws removed, tunnels packed and then having the new graft screwed in. Any advice or stories would be great to hear.

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Mar 27, 2013
Second times a charm so far! NEW
by: Laura

I am a week out from the second time I had this ACL done in 6 mos. I was doing GREAT until month five then I felt a pop, and swelling and pain AND a cycst grew over the screw. So they had to go in and re-do it. I am really surprised how much easier it has been the second time. Half the pain as the first time, I have full extension, working on the bending. I am up and on my feet with crutches and the brace of course, but overall it's been good! I am REALLY worried I will be stupid and shred this one too! I think maybe a morning reminder on my phone for the next six months to TAKE IT EASY even if it feels good. Very bummed to have to do the PT again but I'm getting back on the horse, this time, no SQUATS!!! Best of luck to you!

Jun 16, 2012
ACL REJECTION NEW
by: Amy

Sarah, How did it turn out? I just had my second ACL construction using a cadaver graft. About 4 weeks after surgery my knee swelled up and was in extreme pain. They thought it was infection so they scoped it out 3 times and treated me with antibiotics. Nothing ever grew back when they tested my blood for infection. After 4 surgeries of scoping out my knee they came to the conclusion that it was a rejection, not an infection. THEN they had to go back in and remove everything! (ACL and previous screws in the bone from first surgery) Now I have no ACL and a stiff knee.

Jun 16, 2012
ACL REJECTION NEW
by: Amy

Sarah, How did it turn out? I just had my second ACL construction using a cadaver graft. About 4 weeks after surgery my knee swelled up and was in extreme pain. They thought it was infection so they scoped it out 3 times and treated me with antibiotics. Nothing ever grew back when they tested my blood for infection. After 4 surgeries of scoping out my knee they came to the conclusion that it was a rejection, not an infection. THEN they had to go back in and remove everything! (ACL and previous screws in the bone from first surgery) Now I have no ACL and a stiff knee.

Jul 28, 2011
What happend?
by: NotFilledwithOptimism

Given you never continued your story, I'm filled with dread about my similiar pending 2nd knee reco. Fingers crossed I guess

Dec 21, 2010
Update
by: Brad

Hi Sarah,

I am about to undergo my second knee reconstruction on the same (right) knee. I had a hamstring graft used the first time in 2003. This time I am going to go for the patella tendon graft. The first surgeon I saw suggested an allograft and he said its more likely (than not) that I would need the original bone tunnels filled. The second surgeon, was more comfortable doing the patella tendon and he said there was a 15 percent chance I need the bone tunnels filled. I felt more comfortable with the second surgeon. I'd like to hear about you post op. How has your knee felt? Have you returned to sports? Did you recovery take longer the 2nd time? Did you need the bone tunnels filled and a 2nd surgery?

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