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Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I thought I had a successful ACL repair until I landed back in the hospital with an infection. I ended up having a second surgery. Does this happen very often? I have several friends and acquaintances who have had this same operation without any problems.

Complications such as infection can happen after any surgical procedure. The surgeon and his or her staff do everything possible to avoid this problem, but it does happen. Besides the obvious reasons such as inadequate sterile technique during surgery, efforts are underway to look for risk factors among patients that might predict post-operative problems of this type. The goal, of course, is to reduce (eliminate!) such complications. According to a large study done in the state of New York just looking at outcomes following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, there is a fairly low rate of problems. Only 2.3 per cent of the 70,500 patients had to be readmitted within 90 days of the surgery. Infection was one reason for those hospitalizations. But medical reasons unrelated to the orthopedic surgery such as heart attacks and appendicitis accounted for some as well. Knee stiffness and need for additional rehab was another reason for further treatment. Watching these same patients for a full year revealed a slightly higher rate (6.5 per cent) of subsequent knee surgeries. One-third of those surgeries was for another ACL reconstruction. The rest were for other problems such as scar tissue or meniscal (cartilage) tears. About 11 per cent of the group had infection requiring a second surgery. ACL reconstruction is considered a safe and effective procedure, but it is not without its problems for a few patients.


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