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 13, 2017
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Acl reconstruction NEW
by: Diane

I had my knee reconstructed 11 years ago I now fear 5hat I have reinjured it as I have chronic pain and swelling I am on waiting list for knee clinic and physiotherapy can you have second acl reconstruction on the same knee?

Mar 11, 2017
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Acl NEW
by: Anonymous

Throufht the past 3 years, I've had two operations on my right knee. My first operation consisted of an acl reconstruction and a repair on my meniscus. Thoroughly the recovery, everything repaired except for a small part on my meniscus. My second operation consisted of just a partial repair on my meniscus. It's been about 6 months since my surgery and I'm still feeling shark pains in my knee. It's so frustrating because I can't even do anything anymore. I'm not even able to walk more than 15 minutes without it hurting. I need some advice! I don't know what to do anymore!

Feb 27, 2017
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ACL Revision 12/16. Two months out. NEW
by: JAlan4

I first tore my ACL back in Jan/12, I did it playing soccer when I collided with someone. I had surgery on Apr/12(hamstring graftj and it took me about 3 weeks to be walking without crutches and 4 months to go back to running and biking. I was finally cleared to play soccer in Dec/12. I did very little PT as I could not afford to pay for it. I continued to play but always felt that the leg wasn't as strong as before, I even had a couple of scares where the ligament felt like it extended but didn't tear. Fast forward to Jun/16 I was going for a ball while playing soccer and ended up cutting out, at that moment my knee gave out and a loud pop was heard, accompained by pain. My knee swelled up like a basketball and a week later an MRI confirmed a completely torn ACL, Meniscus and a fracture in the femur. I decided to get surgery on Dec/16 using my patellar tendon. I was unable to walk for 6 weeks due to my fracture and now I am taking proper precautions. I still feel the knee weak but it is only 2 months out, 6 of which I was bed ridden, I have decided to give up on sports that include a lot of twisting(soccer, basketball) and once cleared will dedicate myself to biking, running and other mild less stressful on the acl activities. It is definitely a long road ahead but I do believe that one if willing to put the commitment to it can return to high activity sports.

Jan 08, 2017
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Here is my experience from this. NEW
by: Anonymous

I had an acl reconstruction using an autograft from my hamstring in 2010 when I was 14 and it retore in 2013 when I was 17. I was extremely active and did not wear a brace and got back to all my athletic gymnast activity after the first surgery because I was an idiot but after the second surgery, I could not bare the possibility of tearing it again and reliving the nightmare so I was more of a couch recoverer trying to play it safe and waiting about 2 months to walk without my crutches. My parents could not afford physical therapy for me both times at my disadvantage but I made an active persistent and immediate effort to Extend and lift my leg following surgery. After the surgery, I noticed a significant decrease in my flexibility and ever since I have been stretching my left leg where I got surgery for much much longer gradual and slower than my right leg whenever I stretch to try to get it even. Now almost 4 years later, my left leg is almost as flexible as my right which for my standards is extremely flexible almost contortion level flexible. So id say it is possible to gain all flexibility back with enough effort because 4 years ago I couldn't touch my toes on my left leg and now I can practically almost kick my face if I want like my right leg can. But I am ALWAYS stretching. At work, at home.. Wherever but that's just me. For the first year and a half following my surgery, I felt and would hear a lot of clicking in my knee when I would bend it. I really hated it and I just tried to avoid purposely making it click and hoped it would go away and it completely did after about a year and a half. I tend to forget about ever having a surgery which I guess is the best outcome during the summer. I also tend to bike a lot during the summer which most definitely helps. However, every winter I am reminded of it because I feel more pain. It's not a lot of pain, but it just doesn't feel the same as my right leg in the winter and if I am on my feet at work all day. I feel like my joints hurt more in the winter (where it's very cold where I am) and my knee gets more stiff if I am not active. If I am actively going to the gym and stretching, my knee will feel much better and the stiffness and pain will be much less noticeable. I feel more pain from squatting but it is avoidable if I prepare myself enough and gradually work my way up the weights. I do not play any sport but I do workout a ton. I weigh 110 and squat around 125. howver, rest is also a key factor in that. If I workout I know I need to get enough sleep and rest because I am just constantly weary and protective of my knee in the back of my mind. Obviously dealing with acl recoveries sucks so much but I also think it all depends on how you treat it physically and mentally. It's weird but I think optimism can have an effect or maybe even just a placebo effect because when I am happiest and optimistic, I totally forget about my knee issues history. Be optimistic and discover what activities work best for you that keeps your joints lubricated (biking and Pilates for me)! Sorry for the long babbling here, I know everyone is different but I just wanted to provide my insight. Good luck with your surgery. Wishing the best for you and your recovery.

Dec 21, 2016
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Anticipating my second ACL NEW
by: Brenda

I am scheduled for my second ACL reconstruction on 12/30/16. I'm incredibly nervous. I had a cadaver graft done in December of 2016 and promptly completely tore it again 13 months later.
About 6 weeks ago, I jumped off the bed rail of my pickup (about 4.5')and really screwed it up. I've been to two docs, who both said the same thing after reading x-ray and MRI. The medial meniscus has a severe tear that can only be "cleaned up." There is also a hole in the cartilage on the medial side, both on the top and bottom bones. The lateral meniscus has a tear they think they can fix. I may need bone grafts in the old tunnels, but maybe not. He wants to infuse my hamstring with cadaver for maximum strength. He told me to plan on a year before I can ride horse and run barrels. This is heartbreaking! I rehabbed hard last time and was cleared to ride/run in 3 months. I'm 10 years older now (42), and don't know if I can rehab that hard again, but I hate to miss a whole year!! Anyway, maybe misery loves company, but I've enjoyed reading about the experiences of others.

Dec 07, 2016
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2nd ACL NEW
by: Drmsudo

I am currently 6wks po acl #2. I had my first 6 yrs ago while skiing, no glory story injury. Just typical phantom fall with strong legs. Anyway, I had allograph as I was older (40yrs) and wanted a faster recovery. I did well and the following ski seasons, I certainly challenged it with no problem. I am a powder hound and hunt storms and loot for the steep and deep. I felt 100% with this surgery. I also summitted Mt Raineer twice on this knee. So, no more evidence that it was a good graft choice. Well, end of September I was MTB single track and caught a slower rider at the end of the trail. He stopped to let me by and I should have just stopped. Well, I did not and slipper off the trail heading down towards trees and big injury. I jumped off the bike and planted my foot square locking my old acl knee and felt the well known slip and dislocation. Okay, story done. I prehabed one month and got it fixed the same way. I am rehabing almost twice as fast as I did prior and feeling very confident I will come back. I am still depressed to lose another ski season, but I will be back. Keep a PMA and put in the work and listen to your body. It is really easy to over do your training. Remember, that you can feel strong with not pain or swelling, but that Graf is not healed in at even 6 months. My Orthopod doesn't want me cleared for 1 yr. I will listen to him as I am not going through this again. Good luck and remember nothing that is great comes easy!

Nov 05, 2016
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Here we go again... ;( NEW
by: hailey

I tore my ACL and partial meniscus in March of this year playing high school girls basketball. I've played basketball year round since my 6th grade year, so for me I felt like my life was over. I was still a junior so I had optimism for my return. I chose my patella since the research we used said it had the lowest reoccurrence rate and that it was much stronger than the other grafts. I went above and beyond in my rehab with physical therapists, and once I was able, I started workinh kit with a trainer. Seven months later, in a practice my senior year, I re tore my ACL in the same knee (right). My full ride basketball scholarship turned into a preferred walk-on, I'll be missing my senior season and will be out of basketball for almost a year. Right now we are doing our research to find out which graft we want to use. My surgeon is worried about taking from my right leg again since there has been so much trauma already so he wants to do a cadaver. For someone preparing for college basketball, what do you guys suggest?

Jun 26, 2016
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Second tear? NEW
by: Thep

I had the surgery 10 months ago and yesterday felt a twist and pop. It doesn't hurt as much as original rupture but I'm worried that is because the graft was not settled. What did it feel like the second time it ruptured? I was not so disciplined with physio but of I have to go.through it again I will.be.

Jun 03, 2016
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At it again.... NEW
by: RB7

I tore my ACL 10 years and just torn it again 2 days ago.... Same knee.... I had an autograft 10 years ago using one of the hamstrings and in the past 10 years, 95% of my injuries( I play soccer) was hamstring related.... I may sound stubborn, but I do not want anything else being taken out!.... I am in my 30s and strongly considering an allograft....Studies show a higher risk of failure when using a donor tissue especially if you are physically active....10 years ago, it took me 11 months to come back....

May 20, 2016
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Acl rehab NEW
by: Anonymous

I'm going in for my second acl reconstruction for the same knee (right one), the first one I did was playing netball when I was fourteen and had the hamstring graft. Now exactly a year later I've done it again..Netball. When the doctor told me I tore it again I burst into tears, and I've got my next operation in 2 weeks. Did anyone find their 2nd recovery quicker when keeping it mobile and trying to walk on it, or just keep it safe and have lots of couch time? I am so anxious and would love to hear any response.

May 16, 2016
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Symptoms NEW
by: Paige

When you tore it the second time did you have the same symptoms as the first. I had my ACL repaired 7 days ago and while wearing my brace I turned my leg weird and think I felt a pop. It's not in pain it actually feels better now than before the pop. But sorry back to the question, were you able to put weight on it and was it as much pain as the first time you tore it.

Jan 22, 2016
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2nd times the last NEW
by: Lauren

My first surgery was in 2008 and I used a cadaver/allograft. I felt no pain and played competitive basketball post-surgery and continued to live an active healthy life. My new was good as new. Sadly in 2015 I felt a pop while getting hit by someone during a hockey game. I knew instantly what had happened and went in for surgery 3 weeks later. This time I chose to use my patella tendon. Day two following surgery was the worst pain I have ever been in. Apparently they had to anchor my screws and pull them out, fill in the gaps, then reinforce my new graft. I also had my meniscus cleaned up. Whatever they did it hurt. Now I am at day 8 post surgery and I can walk fine without crushes while wearing my brace. Everyday I see that u cross huge strides in my recovery. I have full extention and my flexion is at 105 degrees. I'm feeling good about everything.. I will say the second surgery is a bit harder and I hope the screws hold up with the filling.

Mar 27, 2013
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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