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ACL Reconstruction Specialist

Steven E. Nolan, MD

Steven E. Nolan, M.D.

Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine located in Sugar Land, TX

A torn ligament can cause your knee to give way, can cause terrible knee pain and requires immediate medical attention. As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in knee surgery, Dr. Steven E. Nolan provides ACL reconstruction procedures so you can resume sports and exercise. Steven E. Nolan, MD in Sugar Land, Texas welcomes new patients to make appointments by calling or using the online booking tool.

ACL Reconstruction Q & A

What is ACL reconstruction?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is located at the center of the knee and serves to keep your shinbone in place. ACL reconstruction refers to surgery performed to reconstruct the torn ligament using hamstring tendon grafts or patellar tendon grafts -- tissue taken from your own body or a donor.

Specializing in knee surgery, Dr. Steven Nolan typically performs ACL reconstruction by way of knee arthroscopy. As opposed to open surgery, arthroscopic surgery allows Dr. Nolan to:

  • Easily see and operate on the knee structures
  • Use smaller incisions
  • Perform diagnostic arthroscopy at the same time
  • Encounter fewer risks

What does an ACL reconstruction procedure look like?

Dr. Nolan administers anesthesia before performing ACL reconstruction surgery. He usually performs the procedure through knee arthroscopy, which involves inserting a tiny camera into the knee through a small incision.

After viewing the ligaments and other tissues around the knee, Dr. Nolan makes other small cuts in the appropriate areas to insert thin surgical instruments and begin repairing the damage. He removes the torn ligament and makes tunnels in the bone to bring the graft through and replace the damaged ligament. He then attaches the new tissue to the bone using screws to hold it in place.

The bone tunnels fill in as part of a natural healing process and further stabilizes the new ligament. As a final step, Dr. Nolan stitches the cuts and wraps the area with a dressing.

What can I expect after ACL reconstruction surgery?

ACL reconstruction through arthroscopy is typically an outpatient procedure, allowing you to return home after the operation instead of staying overnight at the hospital.

In addition to feeling lethargic for a few days, you can expect swelling in the knee and some numbness around the incision site. You may also notice bruising or swelling at the ankle and shin. Icing the leg should reduce swelling during these few days until you start to see improvements.

Full physical rehabilitation after ACL reconstruction surgery can take up to a year, although it varies from person to person. You can typically return to activity after about six months following the operation.