ACL Reconstruction

The aim of ACL reconstruction surgery is to stabilise your knee joint. A torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament can’t heal by itself and causes knee joint instability and a feeling of giving way or insecurity. Longstanding knee joint instability causes further damage to the knee cartilage and may cause a torn meniscus.

Dr. David Colvin, orthopaedic surgeon in Perth. David's specialty is knee and shoulder surgery and sports injuries.

ACL reconstruction

Why is ACL Reconstruction required?

Repeated episodes of instability or a feeling of insecurity with your knee will prevent you from playing sport and enjoying life to the full.

The torn ACL shrinks to a stump and cannot be repaired. Treatment for an ACL tear requires ACL reconstruction. Your orthopaedic surgeon will make a new cruciate ligament using a graft. Once the graft has been taken, the surgery is done arthroscopically. This is minimally invasive and allows for a quicker recovery and less pain.

Shoulder & Knee Surgery Perth

Contact us today to make an appointment with Dr Colvin.


If you have had an injury where you felt a pop in the knee followed by swelling over the next twenty-four hours then you may have an ACL tear. Suspect an ACL injury if you have been through a rehab program with your physiotherapist and have ongoing symptoms of instability in the knee, giving way, or reinjury.

An anterior cruciate ligament tear may be associated with other injuries in the knee. Often, there is also a torn meniscus, or an injury to the joint surface. This can result in locking, jamming, or even a loose body within the knee joint.

ACL reconstruction

Some patients with a longstanding ACL tear do not experience giving way but rather a vague sensation of not being able to trust the knee joint. In particular, they are wary about running activities that involve change of direction. A lack of trust in the security and stability of the knee can be an indication of a previous cruciate ligament tear that went undetected.

If this sounds like your knee you should be reviewed by an orthopaedic surgeon. Dr David Colvin is an experienced orthopaedic surgeon who has helped many Perth patients with ACL injuries. Dr Colvin can advise you on whether knee reconstruction surgery is required. He will discuss with you the best graft choices for your particular injury and your sporting requirements. 

Hamstring grafts for ACL Reconstruction.

There are several graft options to choose from for this surgery. Factors in graft choice include your age, sex, occupation, sport and previous injuries or surgery.

Hamstring tendons are the most popular choice for cruciate reconstruction. They form a strong graft, and because the graft is made up of your own tissue, it integrates quickly and permanently. Using a hamstring graft doesn't weaken the hamstring muscles.  

Alternative grafts used in ACL Reconstruction.

There are a number of alternative grafts:

  • Patellar tendon graft: This method involves taking a strip of the middle third of the patellar tendon including a small piece of bone from the knee cap where the tendon starts and from the tibia where the tendon attaches.
  • LARS graft: This is a synthetic ligament which is threaded through the stumps of the torn cruciate ligament. Cells from your cruciate ligament stump grow into the woven ligament which acts as a scaffold for a new ligament to form.

  • Hybrid reconstruction or Augmented LARS reconstruction: In this method, the LARS graft is combined with a conventional hamstring graft in an attempt to achieve the best of both worlds. The LARS ligament provides immediate stability for quicker rehabilitation, and the hamstring tissue offers the basis for a long-term living ligament.


ACL reconstruction

In the field of shoulder and knee reconstruction, successful outcomes from an operation are 50% surgery and 50% rehabilitation. You could say the surgery is the easy bit, the rehabilitation is all hard slog. Dr Colvin’s CO.RE exercise programs are just that, a core plan for your successful recovery.

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What is the best knee surgery to reconstruct my ACL?

If you contact orthopaedic surgeon Dr Colvin at the Western Orthopaedic Clinic in Subiaco Perth, he will be able to give you clear guidelines about what to expect with ACL reconstruction surgery and what ACL graft choice is best for your knee.

ACL Injury

An ACL injury is one of the most common serious knee injuries and involves a complete tear or rupture to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). The human knee is vulnerable to injury because it connects two very long bones, the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone). These two long levers can exert incredible force at the knee joint.
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ACL Graft Choices

Once the decision has been made that cruciate ligament reconstruction is required, most people want to talk about the choice of graft. My first advice in this regard is, do not stress too much about the choice in graft as there are many other factors that will have much greater bearing on the success of surgery.
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ACL Reconstruction FAQ

If you suffer from an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament in your knee, you may have questions about the ACL tear and the surgery you need. I have created a page listing some of the most frequently asked questions about ACL reconstruction.

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ACL Terminology

ACLAnterior Cruciate Ligament.
ACTIVE A movement initiated by your own muscles. This movement will build strength.
ARTHROFIBROSISKnee stiffness. Can occur after ACL reconstruction.
ARTHROSCOPYKeyhole knee surgery.
CLOSED KINETIC CHAIN (CKC)Exercise where the foot is fixed or planted.
CONCENTRICContracting and shortening a muscle (the usual form of exercise).
EXCENTRIC Contraction while lengthening a muscle (a controlled release).
EXTENSIONThe action of straightening your knee.
FEMURThigh bone
FLEXION The action of bending your knee.
GRAFTTissue used to make the new ACL.
HAMSTRING TENDONCan be used for ACL reconstruction graft.
ISOMETRICContracting a muscle without shortening it (ie. no movement of the joint) – also called static.
LARS GRAFTArtificial ligament for ACL reconstruction.
LCL Lateral Collateral Ligament – outer knee.
MCL Medial Collateral Ligament – inner knee.
MENISCUS Rubber cartilage in knee.
OPEN KINETIC CHAIN (OKC)Exercise where the foot is free, not fixed.

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David Colvin


Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5.00pm AWST

Consulting Rooms

Dr David Colvin consults at:
Western Orthopaedic Clinic
Suite 213, 25 McCourt Street,
Subiaco WA 6008 (Perth)

  • These rooms are part of St John of God Subiaco Hospital.
  • Parking is available on site.


Dr David Colvin operates at:

St John of God Subiaco Hospital Salvado Road, Subiaco WA 6008 (Perth)