This post was last updated on August 5, 2016\nACL injury is amongst the most common sports injuries. ACL injury usually requires reconstruction surgery using soft tissue grafts. The tear will not heal on its own, and, in the majority of cases, it cannot be stitched back together.\nAccording to Volker Musahl, MD, medical director at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, the ligament is rebuilt using tissue grafts, usually taken from tendons in your legs. It is important to understand how the surgery is performed and what you may be facing if you undergo surgery to repair an ACL.\nUnderstanding the procedure and risks can help you to better work with your doctor to create a recovery plan once you know what\u2019s in-store for you.\nPlanning on ACL surgery? Learn more about the process here. Click To Tweet\nThe ACL Reconstruction Procedure\nACL reconstruction surgery is done by knee arthroscopy under general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep during the procedure. This is a minimally-invasive procedure that uses a tiny camera and surgical instruments inserted through small cuts in the knee.\nThe orthopaedic surgeon will remove the damaged ligament and repair any other knee damage. The surgeon will then make tunnels in the bone and bring new tissue through those tunnels and into the same place as the ACL. The new ligament is then attached to the bone with screws and\/or buttons. The bone will hold the new ligament in place as it heals.\nHow Do Grafts Help with Repair?\nMost often, the tissue grafts for the surgery come from your own body, called an\u00a0autograft. They can also be taken from a donor, called an allograft. The grafts are used to create a new ligament.\nThe patellar tendon, which runs in front of your knee, is the most common place to get tissue for the graft, but tendons in the hamstring or quadriceps are also commonly used.\nYour surgeon will talk to you about what type of grafts are best for you and what tissue to use.\nACL Reconstruction Surgery Expectations and Risks\nACL reconstruction surgery usually works well and will give you a stable knee. How well you heal and whether you can return to high-risk sports will depend on your particular injury and how well you follow a rehabilitation program.\nDr. Musahl says you should expect about 6 to 8 months of rehabilitation before you can return to regular activity.\nRisks of the surgery include: bleeding, infection, and\u00a0blood clot, as are common with any surgery. Other risks include:\n\nLoss of range of motion\nFailure of the ligament to heal\nPain or weakness in the knee\n\nBe sure to follow your surgeon\u2019s instructions before and after surgery to have the best possible recovery.\nFind more information on ACL tears and injuries, or\u00a0call 1-866-987-ORTHO to schedule an appointment to speak with an orthopaedic care expert at UPMC Orthopaedic Care.