Your ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, serves a vital role in overall knee stability. The ACL is responsible for keeping the shin bone in place. Any tears or damage in the ACL leaves the knee open to giving in on itself during physical activity. ACL reconstruction surgery is a means of reconstructing this vital ligament.
During ACL reconstruction surgery, tissue (either from your own body or from a donor) is used to replace the damaged ligament. Tissue taken from your own body and used to replace the ligament is called an autograft. Tissue taken from a donor to replace the ligament is called an allograft. Regardless of where this tissue is taken from, the procedure is most commonly done under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. Generally speaking, knee arthroscopic technology is used during the surgical procedure. With this technology, a small camera is inserted into the knee and allows the orthopedic surgeon to see the damaged ligament up close and perform the most complete replacement possible. Furthermore, the surgeon will use the camera to do a quick check of the surrounding tendons and ligaments to make sure there is no further damage to the knee area.
ACL Reconstruction takes place in four steps. These are:
- A shaver is used to remove the torn ligament.
- In autografts, the surgeon will make a larger cut and will remove the tissue from another part of your body to use in the knee ligament reconstruction.
- Tunnels are then created in the bone that allow for the ligament to be pulled through.
- The new ligament is attached to the bone with screws. As the knee heals, the bone tunnels will fill up, and this will be what holds the new ligament in place.
Who Is An Ideal Candidate For ACL Reconstruction Surgery?
ACL reconstruction surgery is used for anyone with a torn ACL that won’t recover otherwise. Patients experiencing the following symptoms are best suited for ACL reconstruction surgery.
- Knees that give way or feel unstable during movement
- Generalized knee pain
- Injuries to the surrounding ligaments
- An inability to continue physical activity because of the pain in the knee
Scheduling A Consultation
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, call NJ Sports Medicine to request an appointment with an orthopedic specialist and get started on knee recovery.