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ACL reconstruction in teenager - any experience?

(10 Posts)
stealthsquiggle Wed 20-Jan-16 13:50:23

DS (13) has a ruptured ACL (knee ligament) and is due to have surgery in a couple of weeks time.

All of the "what to expect" guides I can find seem to refer to the version of the op which involves grafting ligament onto bones, which they can't do in teenagers as it stops the bones growing.

I would really welcome any experience / advice on recovery times and what we can expect with the operation which involves using a chunk of hamstring. DS wants answers as to whether he will be in plaster/a brace/something else, how long he will be on crutches, when he can start playing cricket etc, and I don't have any good answers to give him - his pre-op appointment is only a couple of days before the op, so it would be good to get some answers before then.


MooseAndSquirrel Wed 20-Jan-16 20:01:04

I had the same many years ago, taking the hamstring to secure the ligaments until the growth plates are fully formed.
they wont use a cast as the best thing for recovery is movement!
Most of the time they wont use anything (at worst it will be a brace for a few days if the swelling is extreme, but its unlikely)
I was told recovery was around 6weeks on crutches. however I am stubborn and realised I couldn't carry a coffee whilst on crutches so after two weeks I just had one for support, and at the 4week post op physio assessment I was crutch free and healing brill.
Of course you cant push it, but the more you do (without pain) the faster it all heals. Just make sure when resting his heal is higher than his hip, it reduces swelling.
hth & good luck

stealthsquiggle Wed 20-Jan-16 20:45:58

Thank you so much - it does really help.

DS is pretty stubborn determined, and has already had a couple of weeks on crutches when he injured it initially (before anyone realised what he had done) so I am sure he will be keen to get rid of them ASAP.

<<prepares staple gun for securing boy to sofa to get some rest>>

bellabunny Wed 20-Jan-16 20:46:48

My 16 year old ds had this op last week.
He was in hospital over night but was wiped out by the anaesthetic so slept a lot for the next 24 hours or so once he got home. He hasn't had much swelling but he has had a lot of pain ( which has taken him by surprise as he is normally pretty resilient -rugby player so used to getting injured and pain) do I would advise taking all the pain relief offered.

It is important to keep moving to reduce risk of a dvt but my DS found it hard to get out of bed without help so be prepared to be called upon when they need to get to the toilet etc

He was seen by the physio 7 days after the op, who has given him some low impact exercises to do which he had been doing religiously. When he was discharged from hospital he had a full leg brace but after being assessed by the physio he doesn't need it any more , which he is happy about as it was pretty uncomfortable

He gets the staples out on Friday, 10 days after op. He's on crutches for the next few weeks and cannot play rugby for a year.. ( which has been hard for him to hear )

Sorry for the long post but hope that's answered some of your questions.
It's a horrible injury and a long recovery but hopefully they will get back to full fitness and activity eventually!
Hope your son's op is a success

stealthsquiggle Wed 20-Jan-16 20:52:08

No rugby for a year? I might not tell DS that one for a while - he is absolutely counting on being back next season sad

What pain relief was offered? DS has been in a fair amount of pain with it over the last few weeks, but generally refuses to tell anyone or take anything until I force him to because he is so damned grumpy when in pain

stealthsquiggle Wed 20-Jan-16 20:54:45

I might call the physio he has been seeing (private, although the op itself will be NHS) and see if she could come and see him at home, actually - that would make life easier.

How long is your DS off school for Bellabunny? All the best for a swift recovery for him too - and sympathy for the injury and lack of rugby.

bellabunny Wed 20-Jan-16 21:00:17

He's been told he can do non contact sport after 9 months but 12 months for rugby.
He was given paracetamol ,ibuprofen and dihydrocodeine ( which he was told to only take if the pain was really bad)

bellabunny Wed 20-Jan-16 21:03:34

He was told he needed to be off for 2 weeks but it has coincided with his prelim exam leave so he won't be going back until the start of February. Although he is going in to sit some exams!

stealthsquiggle Wed 20-Jan-16 21:15:28

DS's op will be shortly before half term, so I should only have to fight him about the first few days back after half term, then...

(We were offered a date 2 days before his exams (entrance exams for next school) but turned that one down...)

I hope exams go OK! Can the school accommodate him having his leg up during the exam?

bellabunny Wed 20-Jan-16 21:19:11

Yes the school have been great. They told him he could do them when he's ready but I think he wants to get them out of the way.
They have arranged for him to do them in the student support area with a chair for his leg and extra time so he can get up and move around during them.

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