ACL Surgery Recovery – Day 1

Today at 2:00 I had right acl reconstruction surgery for the second time. The purpose of this blog is to keep me fully committed to my ACL surgery recovery and share anything I learn with others to help myself and anyone else going through acl recovery.

So how did I get here? – Read about Jon Haver

  • April 2006 – lucky to finish 10 years of competitive skiing with NO knee injuries
  • Sep 2007 – Tore my right ACL playing rugby at university
  • Aug 2008 – Right knee ACL surgery using right hamstring
  • April 2009 – Graduate university and start career
  • May 2009 – After being cleared by the doctor to return to sports I make it 20minutes into 1 game of soccer and re-tear my right ACL
  • October 2009 – Get married(delay surgery for wedding and honeymoon)
  • Today  – December 8 2010 – Surgery on my Right ACL using left hamstring

Having been through  2 surgeries in close succession with many differences I wanted to start off with comparing the 2 surgeries.

Differences between the 2 ACL Surgeries

I am all out of hamstrings!

In the first surgery The surgeon used my right hamstring allograph and today since that was not an option I went with the left hamstring. My reason for not using a donor was not based on any medical reasoning but simply because I don’t like the thought of another person allograft inside me. If I were more interested in returning to competitive sport I may have been more interested in donor tissue.

Different Surgeon

I am living in a different city for my second surgerygery and after hearing reviews from former ski teammates and reviews on, both are “top” orthopedic knee surgeons in Ontario and my experience with both was excellent.

ACL Surgery Room

Surgery Room for ACL Reconstruction

Day vs Overnight surgery

First surgey I was in the hospital overnight which was not enjoyable as a nurse did not check in on me for 6+ hours and I did not have any pain medication for that period of time. Today I was discharged at 5pm and we are staying in a hotel with my wife which is WAY better. Access to pain medication, movies, room service and a comfortable bed. I believe the increase pain I felt in the first surgery was primarily due to not being given pain medication for the 6hr period of time.

Do I Need a Continuous Passive Motion(CPM) Machine?

I was surprised when the surgeon this time said we wouldnt be using a CPM machine as the first surgeon was very keen on its benefits. Doing a little more research I found that…

In nearly every study the results are essentially the same: there is some benefit in the first days and weeks following surgery, but there is no difference in knee motion after about six weeks. It does not seem to matter if the CPM is used, ultimately, the results are the same. Source:

ACL Surgery Recovery Pain Management Plan

Huge difference! The first surgery I was in a significant amount of pain starting around 7pm and continuing through the next day I believe this is due to the CPM and not receiving timely pain medication. Today I am at about 3/10 pain scale as opposed to 7sh the first time. In terms of medication I am on 1 oxycotin every 8 hrs and 2 percocet every 4-6 hrs. Tonight I will be setting an alarm to wake up and take the medication so that I keep the pain level nice and low.

Ice Cuff

Today I am using the standard thermos ice cuff style which is nice a simple but isn’t as cold as the pump style I used the first time. The pump unfortunately died between last surgery and this one so it was not an option. So far so good with this style. The hospital physio recommended removing the cuff at night however I believe I am going to keep it on and cycle the water when I wake up to take the pain meds. It seems like keeping it raised and attached also makes a difference with how cold the cuff stays.

Breg Polar Care Ice Machine

Ice Machine Used for First Knee Surgery

Aircast Cryo Cuff

Aircast Cryo Cuff used for ACL Surgery Recovery this time!

Post ACL Surgery Food

I was very hungry after surgery but the nurse recommended to take it slow so all I have eaten is some warm loafs of bread from the hotel restraunt, some Tim Hortons chicken noodle soup and a bagel with butter. All of which hit the spot but I was jealous of Tracy(wife) eating her big sandwich.

Whats next for my ACL Surgery Recovery?

Finish watching a movie in my iPad(anniversary gift meant to be able to keep me entertained during my ACL surgery recovery). Sleep with percocet at 2am and 6am then go to the clinic in the morning to get dressing changed, drain out and drive home to begin my recovery.

The Top 5 At Home Exercises
I did that helped get me walking 4 days after surgery

Click Here to see the exercises


  1. Mirek Ganczak says:

    I just tore my right knee (meniscus and ACL). I live in Ontario (Milton). Would you be able to recommend a surgeon? I am very sport-active person.
    Thank you.


  2. Jon Haver says:

    I have sent you an email with the names of my first and second surgeons with the recommendations.

  3. I would appreciate the same information if you could. I live in the Windsor Ontario area. Thanks in advance!

  4. Hi, Will i be able to walk on crutches straight after my acl surgery? I need to go to my freinds wedding, would i be able to go after a few hours after my op?


  5. Jon Haver says:

    No – You will not be able to go to your friends wedding the same day you have surgery. Moving from bathroom to bed to couch is all you can do the first 24hrs after surgery. It is also critically important that you keep ice on your knee right after surgery and by going to a wedding you wouldn’t be able to.

  6. Jon Haver says:

    Sent an email to you as well with the information. Good luck on your surgery!

  7. My Operation is in the morning at 8am, is there really no chance I can there at 8pm? 12 hours after operation. Its very important. Do you think the doctor would let me if I pleaded?

  8. I REALLY WOULD NOT RECOMMEND going that soon after surgery. I just had surgery 05/26/11 and was able to walk/hobble to the bathroom at the hospital (within 30 minutes of having surgery) and everything has been going excellent since then. I attribute things going well to the fact that I have followed EVERY bit of directions EXACTLY. I believe it is imperative not to be out of bed at minimum the first 3 days except to go to the bathroom. Hope this helps.

  9. hi jon, my name is ibiq from malaysia.
    actually end of this month i will do my acl reconstruction surgery. i am a bit scared. does it hurt? do i need to do the surgery?

  10. I am sorry I know you are giving me the best advice and please don’t feel that I am being ignorant and childish but I really am struggling to see why it is so bad that I can’t hop along from the hospital on me crutches to the car and change wherever and go to the wedding and just sit there? If I am able to go from and to toilet as early as half an after surgery, why can’t I do that 12 hours after surgery?

    Thank you

  11. Hi there. I just had surgery on May 26th…all things considered…so far doing awesome! I did a great deal of research prior (including the use of this site) and followed/following ALL instructions from my doctor and PT. As far as I know, the cryo cuff does not need to be on right after surgery. I took 2 instant cold packs in the car with me to the hospital (I live 35 minutes away) and just used those on the way home after surgery (they worked great). Hubby helped me to the bedroom and then I immediately put the cryo cuff on from there. Hope this info helps and please keep us posted. Thanks.

  12. probation mom says:

    does the cryo cuff need to remain on 24/7? I had surgery yesterday and can’t remember

  13. Jon Haver says:

    Try and keep it on as much as possible. A lot of people dont recommend to sleep with it on but I did and didn’t have any issues. One good option is to have it un-hooked when you sleep and then whenever you wake up change out the water to be ice cold again.

  14. I’m 17, tore both my acls with two reconstructions and had medial meniscus repair on my right knee and just minimal meniscus shaving on my left knee. I tore my left acl when I was 12, we got xrays, ligaments don’t show up and the doctor told us nothing was wrong. My acl grew weaker and eventually led to the tearing of my right acl at around age 14. I quit sports obviously, I couldn’t do anything. When I was 15 we had my right knee mri’d, had to get surgery bla bla bla. Oxycodon was prescribed and rehab with the meniscus suckedddd. When I was 17 we got an mri of my left knee, acl is gone completely meniscus was in fair condition, not to much to fix. Had my surgery 3 days ago. I haven’t taken any pain medication yet and doing my exercise and walking with crutches is some mad pain but I’m not trying to be a hero with no meds I just feel it’s something I have to do for myself being I have been put through 5 years of this bull shit. Once pt starts I think we’ll find out if I really need the meds or not =p

  15. Hi guys I’m a 16year old male and I’m having surgery on the 25th of october. I will be having my acl reconstructed using my hamstring as well as a meniscus repair and they are aslo gooing to reconstruct the out ligament all on my right knee. Any advice would be great as well as how much pain I can expect. I had an arthoscopy in june where they removed my acl and pain wasn’t bad at all. Really hoping this surgery can be the same??

  16. Hello from NY. I just had my surgery today. I received a cold pack machine from the hospital similar to the cryo cuff. Many here say they use it hours on end yet two different PT’s today said I should use 30 min max approx 4 to 6 hours per day. I am confused and sold love to hear opinions from those who have recovered well. Thanks! Also my doctor said to keep the brace on non stop for first week unless using my ice machine or bathing. Thoughts? Well time for meds. Nthanks everybody and thank you for the informative site

  17. Sorry for typo’s. Damn auto correct!