Screw Removal from patellar tendon ACL?

I have read some questions you answered about screw removal but they were for hamstring done ACL reconstructions. I had ACL reconstructed about a 1.5 years ago with my patellar tendon used as graph. I was wondering if I would be able to have my screws removed even though I had a patella graph? And if so how long would the recovery be?

Thanks so much for your time!

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Jan 22, 2014
any thoughts? NEW
by: Anonymous

Hi guys, I found this page and seems a lot of experienced opinions so id like some advice, I warn you now its a long story but maybe to some its interesting....
Im 32 yr old male, some 12 yrs ago I injured my left knee playing rugby which resulted in a patellar graft acl reconstruction.
Seemed ok to get around and work but never returned to sport or felt confident to run.
In the 12 yrs since my knee has randomly swelled, regularly been sore or uncomfortable and i have also had 3 arthroscopies for debridement and cartlidge tears.
A year ago i slipped at work and my knee kind of displaced forward and resulted in another arthroscopy in May's where it gets interesting as i had changed hospitals as i felt my consultant was fobbing me off, my new doc instantly referred me higher up the chain where i saw a specialist in early stage arthritis corrections!!!! Now they never actually pointed the finger at my previous consultant but they did remark that the current condition of my knee is most likely a result of the acl surgical technique.
i had arthritis in the medial part of my knee, my knee cap and a reduced joint space so following this advice i had surgery on December 13 and am currently 5 wks post op for high tibial ostotomy, micro fracture and arthroscopy.
so far my knee is doing well but just had my report thru and it says they removed the interference screws used in my acl surgery? This wasn't discussed with me and i don't know why they would go thru the trouble of removal after 12 yrs? Is it possible they removed the actual cause of my problem to cover up what was done before? Also slightly unrelated but I have thick blue stitches poking out of the recent scar tissue, stupidly I pulled them and fuck that hurt! Also managed to get them a bit infected but thats sorted now,doctirs/nurses don't seem to know what they are or at least be telling me yet online I can readily find ppl who talk about internals being rejected! What's going on with all the cloak and dagger stuff? If you read all of this well done, give yourself a pat on the back

May 05, 2013
patella surgery NEW
by: jay jay,ihad a surgery patella surgery.i think I have two just so concerned im still stiff,im in 60 degrees and still trying for 90 percent im still so stiff and a lot of pain question are they going to take out the screw?let me know pls.who has this experience..thank you

May 05, 2013
patella surgery NEW
by: jay jay,ihad a surgery patella surgery.i think I have two just so concerned im still stiff,im in 60 degrees and still trying for 90 percent im still so stiff and a lot of pain question are they going to take out the screw?let me know pls.who has this experience..thank you

Jan 27, 2011
2 yrs post-ACL reconstruction, screw problem?
by: Phil

Had patellar-graft ACL reconstruction almost 2 years ago. I'm 40 and recovery was slow; seemed to have quick bursts of progress, followed by plateaus. The new ACL feels very stable, but I'm plagued by discomfort in the front of my knee. Had a 2nd MRI several months ago, and my ortho said it looked like a stress fracture. I have mild swelling that NEVER goes away, to the side of my patella tendon, inside of knee. I think this is where a screw is located.

My knee feels ok, and range of motion is good, but when I "fire" my knee and try to lock it in place, the area where the screw/swelling are at feels like it's on fire! I can run without pain, but I still limp a bit, and the main problem is this front area.

Just wanted to share, as my experience seems similar to some of the people who have commented about screw-related pain/discomfort. I've considered getting a consult about screw removal.

I hoped for the best w/ this procedure, and did a good job w/ rehab. But, at this point (almost 2 yrs), I'm resigned to the possibility that I will always have pain and discomfort, albeit mild, in that spot on the front of my leg (interior tibial area, near the patella tendon)

Best, Phil

Jan 11, 2011
ACL Reconstruction Problems
by: Anonymous

I had an acl reconstruction and just recently two scopes to try to fix the acl reconstruction and the problem of my knee caving in. The dr removed a screw that had backed out a little from my femur. would this screw actually cause my knee to cave in reproducing the sensation of tearing your acl.

Oct 17, 2010
Pain in the knee
by: Big Al

I'm wondering if anyone else has had similar symptoms.
I had a patella ACL graft surgery around 2005. Since then the knee has been fine but the area around the tibia where the screw is, is tender. I've recently gone back to biking and shooting hoops a bit more and now the area is very tender. It recently got to the point where it hurts when I lock my leg straight. Has anyone experience this? Is it the tibia screw?

Sep 27, 2010
Screw removal
by: Mrs.wiffle

I just got a screw removed a weekago and i can drive now but i would be light on it till it feels sturdy enough to pivet on.But all is well!

Aug 21, 2010
by: Maria

Hi,my daughter had acl repair 1 year ago, and this march she had the screws removed as she bumped her knee and had a small hole, after surgery the dr. said she had no infection and everything looked ok. Now her incision will not heal. I am so tired of dealing with this my daughter does not want any more surgery. What should I do, we are going to a infectious disease dr. I guess my question is how can you find out if the screws Matt mentioned were used on my daughter.

Jul 22, 2010
acl screw removal
by: Lynn

This comment is directed to Matt do you know if acl screws used in humans are also the smae screws used in dogs? My dog had acl surgery on both her legs now 1 leg is swollen the size of a golf ball at the acl incision site. The vet says she needs to have the screw removed.

Jul 09, 2009
ACL Screw Problems
by: Matt

The firm that I work for is currently investigating several bio absorbable screws that are used in ACL reconstruction surgeries. These screws seem to have a tendency to absorb too early in the body. This early absorption can lead to infection, swelling, soreness, lack of movement, and eventually screw removal and revision. There has already been a worldwide recall of the Smith and Nephew Calaxo Screw that was used in thousands of ACL repair surgeries. If you or someone you know has had these screws implanted, financial comensation could be available for surgery, pain and suffering, subsequent surgeries, and other expenses incurred by this defective product. If you are experiencing a potential screw problem or would like to know more about these screws, please contact me at 713-626-3700. My name is Matt.

Jul 08, 2009
Screw Rmoval and Recovery
by: Diana

Hi All!
thanks so much for this page cause i saw some helpful info. In 7/08 I had a bad fall on NYC's MTA and had to have ACl reconstrcution. I used my own bone which i realize now i shouldnt have.
I have done the therapy and maybe havent pushed myself (at home) as much as i should. Currently bending at 126 degrees..but lots of stiffness and swelling and extreme tenderness on the right side ( botton of knee cap)
I fell again in April and just had a MRI and results are in. Surgeon says i need to get 1 screw removed ( which i have never heard of till now) He said while hes in he will scope and see whats going on.

I am so nervous cause i feel like within ayear i have come such a long have it taken away from me AND Start over!! Ughhh

Surgeon says 1 week recovery from screw removal...
But thsi is the same man who said i can return to work in 4 weeks after ACL...

So Stressed...

Anyother hints/advise/ please respond

Apr 19, 2009
screw out
by: Anonymous

I had my first screw taken out 4 years after my ACL surgery. Two days ago which is 6 years after ACL surgery I had my femoral screw taken out and a little scope done. I recommend anyone with weird sensation, pain or discomfort to get it done. The first one fixed my problem and I'll keep you posted on this femur screw removal. I think it'll be the answer as I'm still young and very active. My bones have unscrewed these screws so that was my issue.

Nov 26, 2008
The Results......
by: Vicki

Ok, got the results of the meniscus tear, and ACL graft is ok. (screw issue was miscommunication between Dr and MRI scheduler). Turns out i have Patellar Chondromalacia. At this point, I think we're going to try PT, then doc says if that doesnt help, then we can scope it. Any thoughts? Thanks and have a great Thanksgiving!

Nov 23, 2008
Screw Removal
by: Vicki

Thanks! I had my MRI on Wed 11/19, and meet with the ortho tomorrow. Will keep you all posted on what the MRI revealed, and the next steps.


Nov 19, 2008
Re: Vicki
by: Bart - SII

I have thoughts of an ACL rupture every time my German Shepard comes at me full tilt - it is definitely not a laughing matter!

As for the femoral screw - it seems odd that it could be knocked loose if it was an interference screw, deep in the bone tunnels of the femur. Especially since your reconstruction was in '94. What led him to the conclusion of the screw being loose? Did they take X-rays?

Repair would likely be dependent upon the status of the ACL. If it was torn, or loose, they would likely opt for a revision reconstruction - time frame would be similar to the first recovery - 6-9 months. If the ACL is intact and stable, they may be able to just remove the screw during the meniscus surgery - 4-6 week recovery.


Nov 18, 2008
by: Vicki

Hello all! Have a similar question....I had the Patellar tendon graft for the ACL in 1994. About 2 weeks ago however my dog (go ahead and laugh!) hit me at a dead run on the outside of the knee. Ortho says that in addition to a meniscus tear, he thinks the femoral screw may have been knocked loose? Anyone heard of anything similar? I was wondering about the repair procedure as well as recovery time. Thanks!!

Nov 06, 2008
screw removal
by: Bart - SII

This is not something that I have any experience with, other than with revision surgeries where the graft had failed. As far as a surgery just to remove the interference screw - they would have to go in and dig the screw out, which would then leave a hole where it was - either to be grafted with bone or left to heal on its own.

Recovery, just my guess, would likely be several weeks to allow the area to heal.

Again, this is just speculation, as I am not a surgeon and have no real experience with this type of procedure.


Nov 06, 2008
ACL screw removal
by: Anonymous

Thank you for answering my intial question about ACL screw removal of a patellar tendon done surgery. I was wondering even though you said it would be difficult if you know if it could be done? And if so what would the recovery process be?

Oct 23, 2008
screw removal
by: Bart - SII

The screws that are used with a patellar tendon graft ACL reconstruction are not easily removed. They are interference screws, and they are deep inside the bone tunnels. When they place the patellar tendon graft, they put the screws into the tunnels and "wedge" the graft into place. As your knee heals, the bone in the femur and tibia fill in the tunnels and surround the screws.

In order to get to the screws, they would have to dig them out.

Hamstring graft hardware is usually placed into the tibia from the outside, so it is much easier to get to - which is also why they are more likely to cause problems.


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