- What Is ACL Reconstruction?
- Diagnosing for ACL Reconstruction
- ACL Reconstruction Procedure
- ACL Reconstruction Recovery
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is located within the knee and is used to stabilize movement and reduce the risk of extreme rotation in the knee. As a result, it’s one of the most commonly injured ligaments in sports. Although once considered a devastating injury, a torn ACL can now often be repaired with ACL reconstruction, a state-of-the-art procedure our leading orthopaedic surgeons use to help athletes and average people alike regain function and comfort in the knee joint.
If you’ve experienced an injury affecting your ACL, we can help. Talk to our board certified orthopaedic surgeons to learn more about your treatment options.
What Is ACL Reconstruction?
ACL reconstruction is a procedure that uses a graft to reattach the ACL ligament from the front of the tibia (part of the lower leg bone) to the back of the femur (upper leg bone). Using arthroscopic surgery, our surgeons can utilize small incisions and a special camera to correct an ACL injury and help patients recover with greater strength and ability and less scarring than traditional open surgical procedures. ACL reconstruction requires a significant recovery period and focused physical therapy, but with time and patience, individuals can usually return to playing sports and participating in other activities they love.
When Is ACL Reconstruction Recommended?
Not all types of ACL injuries require knee surgery. During your initial consultation, our surgeons will evaluate your concerns, review X-rays and other radiographic images, and discuss your questions to determine the best treatment for your needs and lifestyle. In many cases, a partial tear can be healed through rest and rehabilitation. ACL reconstruction, however, may be recommended if:
- There is a complete tear of the ACL or a partial tear is very unstable
- Non-surgical treatment has proven ineffective
- You actively participate in sports or have a physically demanding job (such as construction)
- You are willing to complete a rigorous rehab program
- You have chronic ACL instability
- Multiple knee injuries are present, such as damage to the cartilage, meniscus, or other ligaments and tendons
We will discuss all of your treatment options during your visit so that you and your surgeon can decide together the ideal approach for you.
ACL Reconstruction Procedure
A few small incisions will be made in the knee area, through which the surgeon will insert the instruments and the camera. Some anchoring holes will be created in the upper and lower leg bones to create a tunnel for the graft to attach to. The graft can come from a variety of places, including your own body. You and the surgeon will determine which type of graft is optimal for your case before the operation. The grafts (one per knee) will be secured with pins or screws. The entire surgery takes a few hours, and other injuries to the knee can also be repaired during the procedure.
ACL Reconstruction Recovery
Most ACL reconstructive surgeries are outpatient, meaning you should be able to return home the same day. Numbness, bruising, and minor discomfort are to be expected, and medication will be provided to manage your pain.
Physical therapy will begin soon after your surgery and may continue for several months up to a year. In general, you should expect to take at least six months to return to full strenuous activity, including sports. The most important part of recovery is sticking with your rehabilitation program, and we will be assisting you every step of the way.
Talk to us about your knee issues. Our board certified orthopaedic surgeons can help you relieve pain and restore function after an injury.