What is it?
ACL Reconstruction is a surgical procedure that is performed to replace the torn ACL of a patient’s knee. The ACL, Anterior Cruciate Ligament, is a major ligament of the knee that is typically prone to injuries especially during any sport, as most of them require sudden stops and changes in direction.
In ACL Reconstruction surgery, the surgeon will remove the torn ligament and replace it with a piece of tendon either from another part of the patietn’s knee or from a donor. An orthopedic surgeon usually performs it by making small incisions around the affected knee joint.
Need For ACL Reconstruction
ACL Reconstruction surgery is usually recommended for the following cases:
- If the patient is an athlete who wants to continue in the sport.
- If the injury involves more than one ligament or the knee’s meniscus
- If the knees cause the patient to buckle during normal activities
Before the ACL Reconstruction surgery is performed, the doctor might recommend physical therapy for a couple of days to bring down the swelling and reduce the pain. As performing this surgery with a stiff, swollen knee might not help the patient regain the full range of motion for the knee.
The doctor might recommend the patient to stop taking certain medications, food, and water before the surgery.
The surgery is usually done with the patient under Spinal Anesthesia. The doctors usually perform ACL Reconstruction using arthroscopic surgery, which involved the insertion of tiny surgical instruments and a camera, through the tiny incision around the knee, to perform surgery.
The doctor will first remove the damaged ligament and then replace with a graft or a replacement tissue, usually a segment of a tendon taken from another part of the knee or from a donor.
The surgeon will then drill sockets into the thighbone and shinbone to position the graft correctly. The graft is then secured to the bones with screws or other fixation devices and it acts as a bridge allowing the new ligament to grow on during the healing process.
The recovery period might take a couple of weeks depending on the patient. The doctor would recommend the following post-procedural measures:
- Try to stay off the feet and rest the knee
- A brace might be prescribed to protect the knee joint
- Patient might need crutches to keep away the pressure of the knee while moving
- Keep the knee elevated
- Put ice on the knee
- Use compress bandages to keep the joint compressed
- Doctor might prescribe physical therapy to strengthen the muscles and ligaments
- Pain relieving medications might also prescribed