Surgical Information

Post-Operative Instructions for ACL Reconstruction

(You will receive your customized post-op instructions after your surgery.)


    • Elevate your knee under heel not the knee to prevent flexion contracture or stiffness in the knee. 
    • The Cold Therapy unit is helpful in reducing swelling, minimizing requirements for narcotics and accelerating return to normal knee function.
    •  Follow instructions given at the time of discharge and use the cooling system a minimum of 12 hours/day.  Continuous use is allowed and encouraged, if not uncomfortable. 
    • Keep knee’s dressing dry.  Do not remove it.  Small amount of bloody drainage on the dressing is not unusual and this can be covered with a clean 4X4 gauze and ACE wrap. 


    • Your brace is to be worn at all times.  _________weight bearing on the operated leg is allowed. 
    • Crutches may be helpful for the first several days.  Discontinue use of crutches per your doctor’s instructions.  The brace is to be locked in full extension (0 degrees) when not in the CPM machine. 
    • A Continuous Passive Motion machine (CPM) is designated to aid in regarding knee motion and promote graft healing.  Regaining your motion may take many weeks.  Using the CPM should not cause excessive pain or bleeding.  Decrease the motion if excessive pain or bleeding occurs.
    • On the day after surgery start between 0 and 60 degrees for a total of ____________ hours (_________ hours in the AM and __________ hours in the PM) 


    • Begin exercises the night of surgery.  Repeat 10 times every hour.
    • Quad sets: Push the back of the knee into bed and hold for the count of 10.  
    • Straight leg raises (SLR): lift leg in knee brace off the bed for count of 10.
    • Ankle pumps: Push ankle up and down multiple times to encourage blood flow in leg.
    • Hamstring sets: Push heel into bed for count of 10.
    • buttock by pulling your knee to your chest when you slide.


Take the following prescribed medication as directed:
_______________________   _______________________    _______________________ 

    • To minimize gastric upset from narcotics or anti-inflammatory medication, eat adequate amounts of food.  Increase fluid and fiber intake to ease constipation from pain medication.
    • Take your pain medication as prescribed for the first 3-4 days.


Your surgeon should be contacted by calling 703-810-5202 Option 3, 24 hours a day for any of the following symptoms:

Fever greater than 101.5 degrees F for 24 hours. 

Redness or swelling in the calf that doesn’t resolve overnight.

Numbness, loss of good color or coolness in the foot. 

Severe pain unresponsive to narcotic medication.

Excessive bleeding or vomiting.

Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, CALL 911


Your follow-up appointment will be scheduled when your surgery is scheduled. If you need to verify or change your post-op appointment, please call 703-277-BONE (2663)