Technical Considerations in Revision Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction for Operative Techniques in Orthopaedics

Jeremy M. Burnham, Elmar Herbst, Thierry Pauyo, Thomas Pfeiffer, Darren L. Johnson, Freddie H. Fu, Volker Musahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


As the incidence of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction continues to increase, the rate of revision surgery continues to climb. Revision surgery has inherent challenges that must be addressed to achieve successful results. The cause of the primary ACL reconstruction failure should be determined and careful preoperative planning should be performed to address the cause(s) of failure. Each patient undergoing revision surgery should undergo a thorough history and physical examination, receive full-length alignment radiographs, lateral radiographs, 45° flexion weight-bearing posteroanterior radiographs, and patellofemoral radiographs. The 3-dimensional computed tomography scan should be performed to assess tunnel position and widening. Magnetic resonance imaging should be used to assess for intra-articular soft tissue pathology. Meniscal tears, meniscal deficiency, anterolateral capsule injuries, bony morphology, age, activity level, connective tissue diseases, infection, graft choice, and tunnel position can all affect the success of ACL reconstruction surgery. Meniscal lesions should be repaired, and in cases of persistent rotatory instability, extra-articular procedures may be indicated. Furthermore, osteotomies may be needed to correct malalignment or excess posterior tibial slope. Depending on the placement and condition of the original femoral and tibial tunnels, revision surgery may be performed in a single procedure or in a staged manner. In most cases, the surgery can be performed in one procedure. Regardless, the surgeon must communicate with the patient openly regarding the implications of revision ACL surgery, and the treatment plan should be developed in a shared fashion between the surgeon and the patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalOperative Techniques in Orthopaedics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Inc.


  • ACL surgery
  • Revision ACL reconstruction
  • anterior cruciate ligament
  • anterolateral complex
  • anterolateral ligament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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