ACL Reconstruction

ACL reconstruction is surgery to replace a torn anterior cruciate (KROO-she-ate) ligament (ACL) — a major ligament in your knee. 

ACL injuries most commonly occur during sports that involve sudden stops and changes in direction — such as basketball, soccer, football, downhill skiing and gymnastics.

In ACL reconstruction, the torn ligament is removed and replaced with a piece of tendon from another part of your knee or from a deceased donor. This surgery is an outpatient procedure that's performed through small incisions around your knee joint.

ACL reconstruction is performed by a doctor who specializes in surgical procedures of the bones and joints (orthopedic surgeon).

What is ACL Reconstruction?

ACL tear involves reconstructing the ligament to restore stability of the knee. The tissue used to replace the ACL is usually borrowed from another part of your knee, (or donated tissue could be used.)

What are the Symptoms of ACL Reconstruction?

  • A loud "pop" or a "popping" sensation in the knee.
  • Severe pain and inability to continue activity.
  • Rapid swelling.
  • Loss of range of motion.
  • A feeling of instability or "giving way" with weight bearing.

What is the Pre-Procedure for ACL Reconstruction?

A patient in preparation for an ACL reconstruction surgery undergoes-

  • Physical therapy on the damaged area to reduce swelling
  • Fasting the night before the surgery.
  • The patient may be advised to stop particular medications a week before the surgery takes place.

What is the Procedure for ACL Reconstruction?

The surgery is a straightforward one where: 

  • Two small incisions are made around the knee. One is to insert the camera so that the surgeon has a visual inside the body and the other is to insert small surgical instruments.
  • The damaged ligament is removed and replaced with a graft, either from another part of the patient’s body or alternte sources.
  • Sockets are drilled into the thigh and knee-bone so as to secure the new graft. It is nothing but a base on which the new ligament will form.

What is the Post Surgical Care for ACL Reconstruction?

Post surgery, the doctor recommends certain actions so that the patient can effectively recover, those being:

  • The first few days the patient is confined to the bed. While on the bed, the treated leg is elevated with ice being constantly applied on the knee to reduce swelling and pain. 
  • Once the patient can start walking, crutches are used so as to not apply any weight on the treated leg.
  • Knee braces are wrapped around the knee.
  • Painkillers will be prescribed at the discretion of the doctor.

What are the Risks associated with ACL Reconstruction?

  • The patient is allowed to return to whichever sports they play. However, there is a chance the graft may fail.

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