What is ACL surgery?
Anterior cruciate ligament is one of the notable ligaments of the knee. Injuries during sports items usually cause damage to the ACL. The surgery to replace the ACL is called an ACL surgery or ACL reconstruction surgery. During the surgery, the surgeon replaces the ligament with a piece of tendon taken from another part of the leg or another donor. Usually, small incisions are made around the knee joint to perform the surgery. An instrument of fiber-optic is used to guide the replacement surgery.
Why is the surgery done?
ACL surgery is recommended in the following cases:
- If the patient is an athlete and wants to continue in sports activities that require pivoting, jumping or cutting
- If more than one ligament or cartilage of injured
- If the patient is very young and active
- If the injury disturbs everyday activities of the patient
What are the risks involved in the surgery?
As with any surgery, ACL surgery also has risks and complications. Apart from bleeding and infection, other risks of the surgery include:
- Stiffness or weakness of the knee
- Knee pain
- Poor healing of the graft
- Fails to relieve the symptoms
What are the special preparations required before the surgery?
The patient may need to do physical therapy for several weeks to restore a full range of motion of the knee. A discussion with the doctor will be good to prepare for the surgery and know more about the risks and possible results. The doctor will suggest preparations for the surgery during the discussion.
How is the procedure done?
The surgeon will first make some small incisions around the knee joint. The patient will be unconscious during the entire procedure. An arthroscope and other instruments are inserted inside through the incision. The doctor will first remove the damaged ligament. A piece of tendon is then used to replace the removed ligament. In order to position the graft properly, the surgeon will drill tunnels into the thighbone and shinbone. After that, it is secured with screws and other fixation devices.
How about the post-operative care and recovery?
The procedure is done as an outpatient basis and the patient will be allowed to go home once recovered from the anesthesia. The surgeon may suggest using braces or splint to protect the graft. RICE treatment is suggested to reduce the pain and swelling after the procedure. If done successfully, the procedure can restore the stability and functioning of the knee. The patient will be able to regain mobility within the first few weeks. Athletes will be able to return to the sports activities after 6-12 months from the surgery.
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