ACL Replacement Surgery

On September 14th, 2006, I was playing Flag Football with a bunch of coworkers.
I made some kind of cut while running with the ball and somehow fell over my knee while bending it backward and coming down with a lot of force.

It took a few months for this to heal and rehab. On January 8th, 2007, I had ACL replacement surgery.

The surgery
The surgery requires that you be fully put under using a general anesthetic. Coincidentally, the anesthesiologist that did my IV was the same one who performed my wife's first epidural. The epidural is risky because a needle is put right in to the spinal cord. However, what was interesting to me is how much more involved he'd have to be in my surgery. In other words, with an epidural, it is difficult to insert/set up, but once done, the Doctor usually leaves and only comes back occasionally. For the 2 1/2 hours of my operation, the anesthesiologist had to be in the operating room the whole time. In any case, Steve was amazing; I couldn't even feel the first needle that was used to numb the area for the IV.

I saw my main Doc, Alan Mishra about 30 minutes later. Then, I was out. Woke up at 12:30 completely out of it and nauseous, with my belly itching. This is a reaction to opiates.
About 30 minutes later, Alan and his assistant, Amy, came by for a brief chat. I was then discharged; had to cut my shorts to fit them over the huge cast.

My dad drove me home; I was still in a delirious state. I was supposed to take Percocet (Acetaminophen and Codeine) every 4 hours. Things were reasonably manageable; the main goal is to keep the knee elevated higher than the heart to reduce swelling. It was difficult to sit like this but doable. Getting up to go to the bathroom is a challenge, however.

Eventually, as the drugs wore off, there was noticeable pain, especially after getting up or sitting back down, as the blood rushes back. By 6AM the second day, it was unbearable; i doubled the dose two times in a row; that worked. That second night/morning, same thing happened though.

On day 3, things are much better; I can move without as much pain, but my leg still feels very week. I have to lower/raise it with the other foot or my hands.

Here are some pictures

Removing old damage-this is scar tissue on the inside of my knee cap from old injuries. The furry stuff is scar tissue.

The injured ACL. The pink strip you see is all that was left of the ACL after the tear.

Below is the new ACL in place. Note how much larger it is (roughly the same scale). This is from a cadaver--from an achilles tendon

This is a crude comparison between the old/torn ACL and the new one. The pink overlay is the width of the old one.

This is a shot of the 9MM hole that was drilled in to the knee to pass the ACL and connect with screws.

And here is a video of the cleanup of the back of the knee cap.