Friday, May 30, 2008

Recovering from ACL Surgery: The Long Road to the Surgery table

I normally enjoy a wide range of activities. Ball Hockey is my favorite but i also enjoy soccer, mountain biking and jogging. Since my ACL surgery on my left knee in 1999 i've given up a lot of other activities such as basketball, squash, tennis and baseball.

Approximately 18 month ago I had hurt my knee playing ball hockey. I was running at top speed and all of a sudden i went down. Well, after getting two opinions, i was told that i hadnt done any real damage and that to re-hab it for a few months before going back to sports.

So i rehabbed and waited until April 2007 where i went to a soccer practice which lasted about 20 minutes for me as my knee gave out again.

My doctor immediately set me up to get MRI. Since I'm in Canada and dealing with the Canadian Health Care System, immediately ment i had to wait 5 months to get the test.
So in September 2007 I had the MRI done at a 2am appointment at my local hospital. The MRI report came back a week later inconclusive reporting i had a "possible tare". So this means, my family doctor has to recommend me to a surgeon. It also means i have to wait until December 2007 to see him.

My appointment with the surgeon eventually came and he too could not tell me for sure if my ACL was torn or not. The MRI was useless. So, the doctor told me he had to first perform arthroscopic surgery to determine once and for all if my ACL was torn or not.

January 17th 2008, the results of the scope concluded that my ACL on my right knee was torn. I was actually awake for this surgery which was kind of neat. You could see the torn ligaments. Anyway, the end result was one month of rehabbing my knee from the arthroscopic surgery i just had plus waiting 4 months until May 22nd for my ACL surgery.

May 22nd, 2008 finally arrives and the surgery was a success according to my surgeon. No complications. On a side note, i actually chose to have an epidural instead of the standard anesthetic. This was something i wasnt too sure about but the anistisiologist suggested i could stay awake for the surgery or he could put me under and i would wake up more alert . The bad thing was, they had to stick a kneedle in my back. That wasnt too plesant but the surgery was just under 2 hours long and i woke 20 minutes after they were done alert as can be. I just had to wait around longer for the freezing to wear off. I was in the hospital from about 8am to 2pm and felt pretty good. Better than i remember. But now comes the hard part. Rehab.
In this blog i plan to journal my rehab schedule and progress and hopefully it will give people an idea who need this type of surgery, an idea of what they have to go through.
Check this site out for more information about ACL injuries and surgeries and treatments:


  1. Thanks for this!
    We have someone about to have a patella tendon ACL surgery, along with some meniscus repair.


  2. Hi! I googled some ACL stuff and came across your post. I'm Timothy Alconga and a fellow ACL patient. Hopefully, I'll be entering college this spring in US and hopefully try out for the soccer team, when all's good.

    I had my ACL tear this year while doing a fake 10 mins into a fun game. That was March 22. I had my surgery done by Dr. Jose Raul Canlas, MD, FPOA (member, FIBA Medical Council) at St. Luke's Medical Center here in the Philippines on August 1. I currently undergo physical therapy in the MLSC (Moro Lorenzo Sports Complex) in AdMU (Ateneo de Manila University). The program is 6 months, if the patient progresses well. Following that is 1-2 months of sport specific training before complete release to free competition.

    Having your ACL surgery and rehabilitation here costs about $3230 (based on the exchange rates today). That's everything: MRI, the surgery, and 6 months of therapy (at MLSC). Having researched on cost in the states, it's cheaper here. Even foreigners come here for surgery and therapy. The quality's pretty good too. :)

  3. We moved to the US from Canada in 2001. I forgot about how long it takes for MRI's and Specialist appointments in Canada!!
    My son tore his ACL on a Saturday night playing ice hockey in Atlanta. Sunday morning we went to the ER for Xrays, a brace,crutches and ice. Monday we saw the Orthopedic surgeon, Tuesday had the MRI showing a complete tear. 7 days later had the surgery!
    Insurance through our employer covered 90% and the other 10% will be covered by the Hockey Association's insurance.

    Anyhow, he's 3 weeks out since surgery and having Physical therapy 3x a week. He was off crutches in 8 days, complete range of motion within 10 days and walking/driving/running up stairs normally by 18 days.

    Hearing your story about how long you had to wait for an MRI and surgery brought back memories! However, we are fortunate we have insurance...or else, we would prefer to be in Canada and wait!

  4. I hope your recovery goes well. Check out the blog archive on the left hand side to compare each week as you progress. I have been trying to post an update each week. Hopefully it will provide some helpful insight. Im up to week 22 now.

  5. New Knee Repair Process:

    This website will help you heal faster from torn ligament surgery.

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  7. I just had acl surgery for a complete rupture on wednesday and its friday so 48 hours after, im laying here wondering if I made the right choice.. The pain lastnight was horrible, I tried to move and bent the thread size hose coming from the nerve block ball and it totally stopped dripping.. its better now, but still aches from my hip all the way down to my foot. They gave me some weak pain medicine that only last for about an hour and I have to lay in pain the next 3 hours just to take another.. I was walking without pain before, now im just laying here in pain, pissing in a bottle and needing a bath..

  8. MRIs do not take that long to get in Canada unless you want a free one paid by everyone's tax dollars.
    One is still able to pay cash at a private clinic and get one almost immediately.
    How this is bad ? I don't know.


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