Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction refers to the replacement of the damaged ACL with a tissue to facilitate normal functioning of the knee. ACL is a major stabilizing ligament in the knee, which connects the femur to the tibia. ACL helps provide proper movement of the tibia. ACL also facilitates pivoting or sudden change in the direction of the leg, preventing the damage to the knee.
The ACL can be injured in different ways, thus warranting a need for ACL repair. The following scenarios may damage the ACL:
The ACL may not require surgery when the knee is stable when the ligament is not torn completely, or even when you don’t have to strain your knees by active sports. The alternate treatment in such a situation is “RICE” – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
Physiotherapy, exercise, and braces for legs can help provide support to the knee. Exercises such as swimming, running in a straight line, and playing golf can be preferred by active individuals if they do not wish to return to an active sports life.
General anaesthesia or local anaesthesia will be given before ACL reconstruction surgery. The tissue to replace the damaged ACL will be taken from the kneecap or hamstring tendons of your body, or from a donor. The surgery is usually performed with the help of knee arthroscopy.
ACL repair involves the use of a camera inserted into the slit made in the knee. A computer connected to the camera facilitates viewing of the inner ligament, by which the physician can perform the surgery. Other incisions are made to incorporate the required equipment and then the ACL reconstruction surgery is performed.
You will be sent home on the same day of the surgery. You will be instructed to use knee braces or crutches after one to four weeks of the surgery. The physician prescribes pain medications if required. Physiotherapy could help retain the integrity of the knee faster.
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