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Paediatric ACL Reconstruction FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Please see below for a list of frequently asked questions related to Paediatric ACL Reconstruction.

How much pain will my child be in after their operation?

We routinely use long acting local anaesthetic and oral medications.  Most children are very comfortable after their operation and can be managed on oral pain tablets. It is common for swelling and bruising of the affected leg to occur post operatively, and this spontaneously resolves over 1-2 weeks.

How long will they be in hospital?

Most children are kept in hospital for one night, and are discharged when they are safely using crutches.

Do they need a brace/strapping after their operation?

Compression bandaging can be used for swelling control, and Mr Slattery does not routinely use braces post operatively for isolated ACL reconstructions.  If there is an associated meniscal repair, then a brace is normally utilised for 6 weeks after the operation.

When can my child return to sports?

Due to the higher rate of re-rupture of ACL reconstructions in children compared to adults, Dr Slattery routinely waits for at least 9 months before returning to sport.  This does depend upon the individual, and how they have progressed with their rehabilitation program.  Typically this is a decision made in conjunction with a physiotherapist at the 9-12 month point post op. Prior to this, patients can jog, ride a bike and perform low intensity activities.

How long will my child need to be on crutches for?

Patients will need to be on crutches for 2-3 weeks after ACL reconstruction.  Typically the knee will be swollen, and it may be painful to bear weight on.  This will improve, and normally by 3 weeks most patients are off their crutches.

Will we need physiotherapy after my operation?

Yes, physiotherapy is critical to ensuring that you have a good outcome from surgery.  Normally physiotherapy starts Day 1 after the operation with assistance using crutches, gentle range of motion exercises, and swelling control measures.  Later on, strengthening activities are introduced, and a graduated return to sports and activity specific training exercises.  The itensity and number of physiotherapy sessions depends upon your progress.

What are the possible complications from paediatric ACL reconstruction surgery?

All operations are at risk of complications.  Specific to paediatric ACL reconstruction is the risk of re-rupture (as kids get back into sports), growth disturbance, stiffness, ongoing instability, infection, and meniscal tears.  In the long term, after any ACL reconstruction there is a risk of arthritis affecting the knee in later life.

To book an appointment please contact Dr Slattery’s rooms on
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