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Author Topic: partial ACL tear- surgery now or wait until it completely tears  (Read 813 times)

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Offline bbb343865

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I am new to this forum. I am extremely active and only in my 20s. I partially tore my ACL a few years ago. I did A LOT of rehab and got my knee stronger than ever before. I have agitated the old injury and stretched that ACL further BUT it is still holding on/in tact according to the MRI. Also meniscus looks normal and everything is good. I have seen an OS already and that particular doctor wants to wait until it tears completely to fix it. He said the surgery is something I will definitely be facing since I'm not going to give up my lifestlyle and continue with my sports. When that will be is anyones guess and in the mean time I am left to deal with the pain and wear a brace (the DonJoy Fourcepoint) to help keep the knee stable while being active.

I guess what I'm left to figure out is do I bite the bullet now and go get the knee fixed or do I put it off as long as possible? Has anyone had ACL resconstruction when they only had a partial tear?

I don't want to jump into a surgery if it's not necessary, but at the same time, if it's invitable and there are risks for waiting (like damage to meniscus and other ligaments) , then of course I'd take care of it now. 

Offline dm

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Re: partial ACL tear- surgery now or wait until it completely tears
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2012, 04:14:04 AM »
I had a partial tear that was repaired by using thermal shrinkage to take the slack out of the ligament - the partial tear was less than 50%.  Depending on the tear location on the ligament and how torn it is, as well as the "slack" in your joint, that would determine whether you should just have it replaced, especially given your age.

If I were you, I'd get a second opinion from a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon - NOT a general ortho, they've got more experience in this  as it relates to athletes.

Given your age, and if the joint has a lot of laxity, I'd say go for the new acl, you're at higher risk of meniscus damage and early onset arthritis with a lot of play in the joint that shouldn't be there. If the laxity is on the low end, then you could ask about a scope and acl repair vs replacement to tighten the ligament and buy time before it's gotta be completely replaced... but ... I had this done and it only lasted 14 months and it retore, and I'm not highly athletic. So, keep that in mind, that a repair isn't necessarily the best choice either.

You say you've got a lot of pain with the acl being bad - that to me would indicate that it may be worse than the MRI shows.... I personally know that the scans aren't known to be 100% accurate.

SO...I say seek a second opinion from an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports related injuries - then decide.
multiple arthroscopies 2/00,3/01,6/01,1/03, 12/07,10/10. chondromalacia, severe medial joint space narrowing following 3 partial menisectomies, chronic pain problems, kneecap problems, OCD lesion, failed mfx.