Tiger Woods' ACL Surgery: FAQ
Woods to Get ACL Reconstruction and Expects to Miss the Rest of the PGA Season
WebMD News Archive
What does ACL reconstruction surgery involve?
McCulloch: The surgery itself is done on an outpatient basis. We
can't repair that ACL so we just make a new one. ... We'll take a tendon --
either from somewhere else on the patient's knee or from a donor ... it's fixed
to the femur and fixed to the tibia.
Mishra: It typically is a much bigger deal than just a knee
arthroscopy [the type of surgery Woods had in April]. You've got to reconstruct
the ligament, which is a bigger challenge than doing just a meniscus surgery.
It takes an hour and a half or two hours of time, depending on how they do
When is ACL reconstruction surgery needed?
McCulloch: The decision whether or not to reconstruct the ACL
ligament is based on several factors, the most important of which is the
patient's desired activity level and type of activities they engage in.
If someone has a low demand on their knee and they tend to participate in
linear sports such as jogging or running or swimming, they may do fine
without having the ACL reconstructed. And in fact, Tiger went on to win five of
his next six or seven tournaments after he had rehabilitated from the torn ACL
However, one concern is that when the knee has an abnormal motion to it, if
you do engage in cutting-and-pivoting sports, the knee can continue to give
way, and this can cause further damage in the knee.
There's a high rotational torque to the knee in the forward leg during a
golf swing, and this is Tiger's left knee, which is his forward leg. With an
ACL-deficient knee, you do run the risk of developing further tears in the
meniscus over time.
Mishra: It's amazing he won the U.S. Open, given the fact he didn't
have an ACL reconstruction [earlier]. To be able to compete at that level with
that sort of disability is flat-out astounding.
He tore his ACL in 2007. According to what his agent released, he planned on
trying to compete as much of the season as possible, especially through Torrey
Pines [the U.S. Open]. He might have planned this and said, 'Let's see how far
I can go.'