Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, also known as ACL reconstruction is a surgical replacement of the tissue graft of the anterior cruciate ligament, located in the knee, to restore its function after an injury. This ligament is critical for the stability of one’s knee.
An ACL injury is mostly a sports injury and mostly occurs when landing from a jump. Women athletes are more prone to this injury than men. Sports including football, rugby, netball, touch, basketball, tennis, volleyball, hockey, dance, gymnastics and others can lead to an ACL tear.
The Diagnosis of Anterior Cruciate Ligament
The diagnosis of an ACL tear can be done by the pop sound while the occurrence of the injury, followed by immense pain and swelling. A clinical examination follows by a physiotherapist or sports doctor to look for signs of ACL ligament instability. One can also get an MRI done to determine the tear as X-Rays cannot reveal such tears.
An ACL tear doesn’t necessarily require surgery. Factors like age, involvement in sports or physical activities, the extent of knee instability, and future sports plan play an important role.
Surgery for ACL Tear can be conducted in the following two ways:
- Using autografts from other parts of one’s own body. These can be the tendon of the kneecap or tendons from the hamstring.
- Repair surgery is done in case there is an avulsion fracture which is the separation of the ligament and the bone. In such cases, the bone fragment connected to the ACL is reattached to the bone.
The Process of Open Surgery
An ACL surgery for a ligament tear in the knee is done by making small incisions in the knee and inserting instruments for surgery (arthroscopic surgery). Many times, a larger incision is needed like open surgery. This surgery is conducted by orthopedic surgeons.
These surgeons prefer an arthroscopic surgery as:
- It uses a smaller incision, which is convenient for the patient.
- It is easy to work and see the structure of the knee.
- It has fewer risks as compared to the other.
- It can be performed without very elaborate preparations.
- This is performed under general or regional anesthesia.
Is ACL Surgery Safe?
The goal of this surgery is to restore normalcy or stability in the knee and restore the knee’s level of functionality before the injury. The surgery also prevents any further degeneration of the knee or in severe cases, loss of mobility. A few people might get ACL surgery done but still experience instability and pain. In such cases, a revision ACL is prescribed, but it is not as successful in most cases. ACL surgery is generally safe, but complications can arise, just like any other surgical medical procedure.
Post ACL surgery rehabilitation is an important aspect but mostly neglected. It is important that one is guided by a sports doctor or physiotherapist for the best and quickest results. The rehabilitation of a patient after an ACL surgery focuses on restoring strength, complete knee motion, power, and endurance. One will also be required to work on balance, agility retraining, and proprioception that is customized towards the specific sporting or functional needs.
How to Manage ACL Surgery?
ACL injury surgery packages online can be booked and confirmed.
Many athletes have trouble returning to sports post an ACL tear and surgery, especially, if it is a sustained injury. The best advice is to undergo surgery and then intensive post-operative physiotherapy.