ACL Specialist

Dr. Patrick McCulloch

Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine located in Houston, TX

A torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) won’t heal on its own. As one of the highest-volume ACL surgeons in Houston, Texas, Dr. Patrick McCulloch treats adults and adolescents at three convenient locations in Spring Valley, Bellaire, and the Texas Medical Center. Dr. McCulloch has pioneered research in ACL surgery and rehabilitation, including the use of blood flow restriction (BFR) to speed recovery. If you have an ACL injury, call to book an appointment today.


What is an ACL injury?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four major ligaments in your knee. It crosses in front of the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), forming an X inside your knee joint. Ligaments hold the bones of your knee together and help to stabilize the joint. 

An ACL sprain or tear is a common sports injury that can occur when you stop suddenly or change direction rapidly while running. Athletes in high-demand sports like soccer, football, basketball, and skiing have a higher risk of ACL injuries. 

How do I know if I have an ACL injury?

Many people hear a popping noise when they tear their ACL. Other signs and symptoms of an ACL injury include:

  • Knee pain and instability
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • Loss of full range of motion
  • Discomfort while walking


These symptoms are similar to other knee injuries, like meniscus tears. It’s important to seek treatment from Dr. McCulloch and his team as soon as you suspect you have an ACL injury. They carefully examine your knee and review your symptoms and medical history to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.

What treatments are available for an ACL injury?

Dr. McCulloch and his team recommend the best approach to treatment for your specific needs. A torn ACL won’t heal without surgery, so reconstruction is recommended to regain full function and return to sports.

Nonsurgical treatments including physical therapy and bracing may be recommended prior to surgery (“Prehab”) and may be sufficient for less active people.

What does ACL surgery entail?

Most ACL tears can’t be repaired, so Dr. McCulloch reconstructs the ligament as an outpatient procedure. He uses minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery for ACL reconstruction. The procedure involves replacing the torn ACL with a tissue graft from your own body or from a donor. 

As a leader in his field, Dr. McCulloch also performs complex revision procedures on ACL grafts that wear out or fail. 

What is the recovery like after ACL surgery?

Because arthroscopic surgery is minimally invasive, it involves a shorter recovery time and less pain than open surgery. However, proper rehabilitation is essential to return to your pre-injury performance. 

Dr. McCulloch pioneered research on methods to speed recovery after ACL surgery, including blood flow restriction (BFR) exercises, and using the HydroWorx underwater treadmill or Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill. He may include these in your physical therapy and rehabilitation plan. He uses an injury prevention program and objective testing to determine your readiness to return to sports.

For the most advanced care in ACL surgery, call the office of Dr. Patrick McCulloch to request a consultation today.