Road To Recovery: Torn ACL (Knee Ligament)

So starting off, these past months have been real hectic for me, and I would definitely want to thank all my friends and family for the support and prayers all this time.

As most of you know, I went through multiple surgeries this year, and believe me it isn't easy going back and forth from the hospital for check ups, getting the bad news, and going under the knife

For this post I would like to talk about my first surgery which I went through. Due to sports, I injured my knee, and my friends recommended me to visit Dato Dr Lim at SDMC to check out how intensive the damage is. After taking the MRI and X-ray, I found out I tore my ligament, and also my meniscus in the knee area.

Before the Surgery
Here are the costs you have to bare in mind as this part isn’t covered by insurance yet as you’re an outpatient, but you’ll be able to claim it if you decide to go for surgery under the pre operation & post operation section (Please check with your insurance agent on it)

MRI and X-ray: RM1,500
Consultation: RM100 per session (normally it’s 2 or 3 sessions)

If you can't afford it, its best to go to a Government Hospital, but there is normally a 6 month waiting list. So it depends if you can wait for it.

This actually isn’t the end of the world, if you can give up sports and hard activities, you can live with this injury without going under the knife actually. But I thought to myself, my life revolves around it and I decided to do the surgery

So actually what happens when you do this surgery? Basically you’ll be stuck in the hospital for about 5 days till you’re stabilized and you’ll be able to go home after.

The doc will take a piece from your hamstring, and replace your torn ligament with it

I’m just gonna run down on what happened in the hospital:

Admittance to the Hospital

Day 1
- Admittance to my ward 
- I was brought to the operation theater the anesthetic doctor will gave me some pain killers, and poked the needle into my hand for the drip
- I lied down on the operation table, and I went to sleep with general anesthetics
- The operation took about an hour, I woke up in the recovery room and an hour after that, once my condition was stable, I was brought back into my ward
- I was pretty groggy cos of the anesthetics, so if you're doing a surgery, keep visitation at a minimum for the 1st day

My leg was all wrapped up with bandages and there was a brace that to ensure my leg is totally straight. This is quite uncomfortable as I has limited movement, and it was definitely hard to sleep with it

Anyway here is the video of the surgery (through the scope)

Day 2
- Dr Lim came in and explained how the procedure went. He also removed the bandages and put a compression wrap on the knee and adjusted my brace so that my leg can bend to 30 degrees
- My physiotherapist came in and taught me how to walk with crutches and the basic exercises to strengthen your knee (this would be very tough, so you need determination to do it)

Day 3
- I was able to walk a slight distance (20-30m) without too much discomfort and my physiotherapist taught me how to climb stairs with the crutches

Day 4
- Dr Lim adjusted my brace to 50 degrees, so I could bend more
- I was able to walk around the whole floor without too much discomfort

Day 5
- Dr Lim discharged me, and I was able to go home
- do make sure you have someone to take care of you at home, as it’s going to be a little hard to move around.

The cost of the surgery is RM30k, which would be covered by insurance, there were still miscellaneous charges so I had to pay RM800 (which was not covered by insurance)


So what happens when you've been discharged from the hospital? This was my journey

Day 8
- I was able to walk without crutches

Day 11
- I went for consultation with the surgeon to see the progress of healing
- removal of stitches
- brace is adjusted to 90 degrees

Day 14 
- I was able to walk normally and its safe to go back to work. (Doc would actually give you 2 months MC)

Day 20
- I went for consultation and my brace was adjusted to 110 degrees

Day 42 (6 weeks)
- Removal of brace WOOHOO! 
- you need to continuously stretch your leg to gain back flexibility

Day 84 (3 months)
- I started light sports like jogging and swimming, This is important to gain back muscle mass that you've lost at your thighs

Day 168 (6 months)
- I haven't reached this stage, but my leg should be strong enough to play harder sports

All in all, it'll take about 6 months to completely recover, I hope this gives you some insight if you're ever going for an ACL surgery, but fret not, it'll be worth it as you'll be able to get your life back to normal!