Tag Archives: knee injury

The Biology of ACL Healing: The Wild Card of Recovery

Ligamentization – The Wild Card

One of the most critical steps in ACL reconstruction is grafting a tendon into the knee to replace the damaged ACL. Following surgery, the graft not only has to heal tightly in its new position but also transition structurally from a functioning tendon to a functioning ligament—a process known as ligamentization. Believe it or not, this process takes time! Microscopic studies, in which physicians have taken small samples of healing ligaments following ACL reconstruction to determine their rate of ligamentization, suggest that this process can take anywhere from 6 to 24 months.

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When is an athlete ready for contact sports after ACL surgery?

Returning to Sport Following ACL Reconstruction

After ACL reconstruction, the most common question is also the most difficult to answer: “When will I be ready to go back to ___?” In short, there is no blanket answer; there are many factors that determine when the time is right for a patient to return to sport. These factors are physical, biologic and psychological in nature and they affect each patient’s recovery in a unique way. At the end of the day, return to sport is a decision that needs to be made on a patient-to-patient basis, weighing the benefits of continued rest and rehabilitation with the risks and benefits of returning to sport.

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