This case example of ACL Reconstruction demonstrates a common example summarizing indications, surgery, rehab, and functional outcomes.

Chief Complaint/Injury

49 year-old male mountain-biker, skier, and fitness enthusiast with acute knee injury.


History, physical exam, and imaging are consistent with an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear.

MRI ACL Tear with Pivot-shift Bone Bruises prior to ACL reconstruction Rudzki

MRI image of pivot-shift bone bruises sustained at the time of ACL tear.

Surgery for ACL Tear

Patient undergoes successful arthroscopic hamstring autograft ACL reconstruction. This is performed with a high-definition fiberoptic video camera to remove the torn, incompetent ACL and create anatomic tunnels on the femur and tibia to place a hamstring graft which becomes the new Anterior Cruciate Ligament.

Arthroscopic Image of Hamstring ACL Graft Intraoperative Photo Rudzki

Intraoperative image of Hamstring ACL Reconstruction

Result of ACL Reconstruction

Patient undertakes comprehensive post-operative physical therapy program and returns to mountain bike racing and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with his son.

Over 100,000 ACL reconstructions are performed each year in the United States. These procedures are highly effective for patients who want to return to sports requiring pivoting, cutting, and lateral movement. The surgical techniques continue to improve with better knowledge of the true ACL anatomy, medial portal drilling techniques, fixation devices, and rehabilitation protocols. Continued research focuses on how to improve surgical treatment and post-operative rehabilitation of these injuries.