The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) acts as a bridge of tissues which connects thigh bone to shin bone of the knee joint. The main function of ACL is to provide stability to knee. The movement of lower part of leg is also controlled by this ligament. The injury to ACL affects the whole range of knee movement and causes acute pain. The ACL reconstructions injury aims to the replace the damaged ligament with a new ligament.
Medications are provided to the patient, before surgery, to lower the swelling in the knee. At the time of surgery, general anesthesia is given to the patient. Surgery is done by knee arthroscopic procedure. In the surgery, a small surgical cut is made in the knee. An arthroscope with camera is inserted through this incision. Some other small cuts are also made near knee to insert instruments helpful in surgery. Using the images given by the camera, the surgeon removes the torn ligaments. The new ligament is produced by grafting procedure. It means the new ligament is extracted either from patient’s body or from any donor. Large tunnels in the bone are made to place the new ligament at the same place as older ligament. Screws or other such devices are used to hold new ligament in proper position. After surgery, the cuts are closed with sutures. A dressing is used to cover the site of surgery.
The patient is usually discharged from the hospital on the same day of surgery. A knee brace is put on the knee for few weeks to fix it in neutral position. A little knee movement is encouraged to prevent stiffness. The pain and swelling are properly managed using medications. Physical therapy is also beneficial. It regains back the mobility and strength of the knee. The therapy often lasts for 2 months. It usually takes 4-6 months for the person to return to normal daily activities.
The possible risks of ACL reconstruction surgery include:
- Loss of knee movement
- Stiffness and weakness