Post-ACL Reconstruction Surgery: Implications for SSB Medical Evaluation

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction is a common surgical procedure in the field of sports medicine. It is often required when the ACL, one of the major ligaments in the knee, is torn or damaged, usually during sports activities. After a successful ACL reconstruction surgery, many individuals are concerned about the implications for their Services Selection Board (SSB) medical evaluation. This article aims to provide comprehensive information on this topic, addressing potential questions and concerns.

Understanding ACL Reconstruction Surgery

ACL reconstruction surgery involves replacing the torn ligament with a graft, which can be taken from the patient’s own body (autograft) or from a donor (allograft). The surgery is typically performed arthroscopically, which is a minimally invasive procedure. Post-surgery, patients undergo a rehabilitation program to regain strength and mobility in the knee.

Implications for SSB Medical Evaluation

The SSB medical evaluation is a comprehensive physical and medical assessment conducted to determine the fitness of candidates for military service. It includes a thorough examination of all body systems, including the musculoskeletal system.

  • Impact on Physical Fitness: After a successful ACL reconstruction and rehabilitation, most individuals regain full function of their knee. However, the recovery period can vary, and it may take 6-12 months to return to pre-injury levels of physical activity. Therefore, timing of the SSB medical evaluation post-surgery is crucial.
  • Medical Examination: During the SSB medical evaluation, the medical officer will assess the stability and function of the reconstructed knee. Any signs of instability, pain, or limited range of motion could potentially affect the evaluation.
  • Medical Standards: Each military service has its own medical standards for enlistment. While a history of ACL reconstruction is not automatically disqualifying, it may require a waiver depending on the specific circumstances and the requirements of the service.


While an ACL reconstruction surgery can potentially impact an SSB medical evaluation, it does not necessarily preclude military service. The key factors are the success of the surgery, the effectiveness of the rehabilitation, and the individual’s return to full physical function. It is recommended that candidates discuss their specific situation with their surgeon and the SSB medical officer to understand the potential implications.

Ultimately, the goal of the SSB medical evaluation is to ensure that candidates are physically capable of withstanding the rigors of military training and service. A history of ACL reconstruction does not automatically disqualify a candidate, but it does require careful evaluation and consideration.