What is ACL Reconstruction
ACL reconstruction (or Anterior Cruciate Ligament reconstruction) is a surgical procedure used to repair torn ACL ligament. ACL is one of the major ligaments in the knee. It connects the thigh bone to the shin bone and helps in the stability of the knee joint. In ACL reconstruction, the surgeon makes a small cut around the knee joint and the torn ligament is replaced with a tendon from another part of the knee or a donor.
Causes of ACL Injury
ACL injury is a common sports injury.
- It is caused due to over-stretching or over-use of the ligament
- It occurs when there is sudden or sharp movement while running or jumping.
- Landing incorrectly from a jump.
- Direct blow on the knee.
ACL Reconstruction Surgery:
Preparation for procedure
- Don’t eat or drink for 8 to 12 hours prior to the surgery.
- Limit or stop the use of nicotine, caffeine & alcohol weeks before the surgery.
- Doctors may prescribe multivitamins, and vitamin C prior to surgery to promote healing after surgery.
- The patient undergoes physical therapy before the surgery in order to reduce pain & swelling because with a swollen knee it may be difficult to regain the full range of motion after surgery
During the procedure
- General anesthesia is given to the patient so that the patient feels comfortable during the surgery.
- Small cuts or incisions are made around the knee joint to insert an arthroscope (a thin, tube-like camera) and other surgical instruments.
- The torn ACL ligament is removed & replaced with an autograft (tendon that is taken from another part of the knee) or with an allograft (a tendon from a donor).
After the procedure
- The patient is advised to keep the pressure off the knee.
- Before leaving, the patient practices walking with crutches and the doctor may advise wearing a brace to protect the knee.
- Pain relief medication like ibuprofen is prescribed by the doctor.
- Physical therapy (which includes cold therapy & strengthening exercises) is also advised to strengthen the muscles and ligaments after the surgery.
How long before you can return to work after ACL surgery?
- Depends on the job.
- If it’s an office job then the patient can return to work after a week or 10 days.
- And the patient’s job requires a lot of knee movement, so it may take 4-6 weeks.
Is ACL surgery a major surgery?
ACL surgery is minimally invasive surgery done with the help of arthroscope.
How long should you wear a knee brace after ACL surgery?
4-6 weeks so that the graft can heal.
How long should I elevate my leg after ACL surgery?
The leg is elevated with the help of a cushion or pillows for 6-8 weeks to ensure that there is adequate movement of fluids and there is no swelling in the operated leg.
What are the side effects of ACL surgery?
- Stiffness of the knee joint.
- Instability of knee joint
- Decreased movement of the knee joint.