An ACL reconstruction is a procedure that is performed in order to repair a damaged anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The ACL is one of the ligaments that works to hold together the knee joint. It is located in the middle of the knee, and helps to stabilise the knee. Some common symptoms of an ACL injury include knee instability, as well as knee pain and swelling. It can be uncomfortable and painful to walk.
In some cases, a damaged anterior cruciate ligament requires surgical reconstruction. During ACL surgery, the damaged ACL is replaced with a graft made from another tendon in the body. A tissue graft can be taken from various areas of the body, including the patellar, hamstring and quadriceps.
Your surgeon will make several tiny incisions in the knee, through which an arthroscope is inserted. The camera on the arthroscope will allow your surgeon to view the inside of the joint in detail and determine the extent of the damage, as well as the best surgical technique for your particular case. Any damaged cartilage is removed or repaired, and the torn ACL is removed. The new ACL graft is placed in position, and secured with special surgical screws or staples.
Once the graft is in place and your surgeon is happy with its position, the incisions are stitched closed and a dressing is applied to the knee. Your doctor may prescribe some medication for pain and inflammation after the surgery.
Although it can take some time to fully recover, ACL reconstruction is generally very successful in relieving knee pain and restoring proper mobility and stabilty. Most patients are able to return to the normal physical activities and sports within a few months of recovery.