Revision (Ligament Reconstruction) Surgery

What is revision surgery?

The implants used in joint replacement surgery may last 15, 20 years or more, but they can wear out. When this happens, revision surgery may be used to replace the implant.

A revision surgery may also be needed if an implant becomes loose or dislocated, or if you experience a fracture on the bone near your hip or knee replacement. In some cases, it may be required if an infection develops within the implant, or if the implant used is found to be defective and recalled.

When an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery fails, doesn’t heal properly or if the ACL is torn again, a ligament reconstruction surgery may be necessary. This can be especially challenging for the surgeon, because primary ACL reconstructions are performed using a variety of techniques. The surgeon therefore must take many factors into account when planning a revision surgery, and their experience becomes a factor.

How is revision surgery performed?

Revision surgery is more complex than the original knee or hip replacement surgery and therefore having a surgeon skilled in this area becomes important. The surgery takes longer to perform and scar tissue can be a factor with the surgery.

During a revision surgery to replace an implant, the surgeon makes an incision, removes the original implant and replaces it with a new implant. An ACL revision surgery may require one or more specialized procedures, depending on the nature of the injury or condition of the ACL, the stability of the knee, the desire to continue playing sports and more. A patient requiring bone grafting of prior graft tunnels may require a second procedure. In cases of injured ligaments within the ankle, a special surgery called ankle instability surgery is used to repair or “tighten” stretched or torn ligaments to restore stability to the joint.

Is revision surgery covered by insurance?

Revision surgery is considered medically necessary and is covered by most insurance and Medicare.

How quickly can I get back to my regular routine after revision surgery?

You will be able to put more weight on your hip or knee approximately 6-8 weeks after surgery. It can take between 3 and 6 months to fully recover and resume normal activities.

Are there any side effects to revision surgery?

Risks such as bleeding, infection and blood clots can be higher after revision surgery than they were after the original surgery. Risks increase if there is extensive scarring from the original procedure.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact West Coast Orthopedics.

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