Denver Orthopedic Surgeons: Don’t Delay ACL Reconstruction Surgery

Don’t delay anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Otherwise, it may bring even more problems.

A study presented during the annual meeting of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) in 2014 pointed out that the delay caused secondary meniscal and chondral injuries. Chronic treatments—meaning, waiting for more than three months before reconstruction—were found to aggravate the injury, among others.

Don't Delay ACL Reconstruction Surgery

This study by the Tennessee Orthopedic Alliance expanded upon a previous study from two years ago, which found that performing the surgery six months after the injury saw a significant increase in the meniscal tears. This study was performed by the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.


Timing of ACL reconstruction is widely debated among the orthopedic community. While late reconstruction indeed worsens the injury to the point of secondary injuries, early reconstruction doesn’t provide any significant advantage. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the main point here is to avoid further damage, not necessarily to hasten recovery.

Many Denver orthopedic surgeons understand that post-op recovery takes a long time. Their experience working with pro athletes see the latter sitting out for the rest of the season. The Broncos themselves have lost several players to ACL injuries over the past few years and forced them on the sidelines.

Career Ender

ACL injuries end athletic careers. Any exacerbation on their torn ACLs will only risk cutting their careers short, which can be demoralizing for the most dedicated athletes. Craig Bottoni, recipient of the AOSSM O’Donoghue Sports Injury Research Award, said it’s okay for orthopedic surgeons to deal with ACL injuries as soon as possible.

A reputable Denver orthopedic surgeon understands an athlete’s need to get back into the court or field as soon as possible. However, fast strides following a major operation will only do more harm than good. A physical therapy plan must take it slow to give the injury enough time to heal itself, lest risk a second ACL tear.

Practices like Steadman Hawkins Clinic Denver will, regardless, look for the shortest but safest possible route to a full recovery. This may include performing minimally-invasive surgeries such as arthroscopic surgery. By using an arthroscope, an orthopedic surgeon can inspect the injury while only creating a small opening.

(Source: “Risk of secondary meniscal, chondral injuries increases with delayed ACL reconstruction,” Healio, March 13, 2015)


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