What is ACL Reconstruction Surgery?
An ACL reconstruction is a surgical procedure to restore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the center of your knee. The ACL connects your shin-bone (tibia) to your thigh-bone (femur). An ACL injury can cause your knee to give way during physical activity, especially when performing side-steps or crossover movements. ACL reconstructions are performed to restore the ligament.
When to go for surgery
The doctor will consider whether you need knee surgery if your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is badly damaged or if your quality of life is affected. If your knee is stable, and you do not have an active life, you may choose not to have surgery. However, delaying surgery may result in further damage if your knee gives way or becomes unstable. Once the swelling has gone down and rest and physiotherapy have helped to reduce your symptoms, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you. Physiotherapy may be successfully used to treat an ACL injury in people who have relatively little activity, are involved in moderate exercise and recreational activities, or play sports that put less stress on the knees. ACL replacement is usually recommended for people who engage in sports that require jumping, cutting, and pivoting.
ACL reconstruction surgery is done to restore the stability of the knee after an ACL injury. The ACL can be reconstructed with a graft of replacement tissue from one of two sources: a patient's hamstring, quadriceps, or patellar tendon, or an allograft (human organ donor tissue). The type of graft used for each person is determined on a case-by-case basis. Although minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery is used, a somewhat bigger incision is required to acquire the graft. The surgeon will bore holes into your femur and tibia bones to precisely position the graft, which is then secured with screws or other devices. The graft will function as a framework for new ligament tissue to grow. ACLs can be restored using this procedure without an overnight stay in the hospital. Patients leave the hospital the same day as their surgery.
Post Surgery Care
Before you leave the hospital, you will learn how to walk with crutches, and the surgeon may ask you to wear a knee brace or splint to protect the graft. The doctor will give you specific instructions on how to control swelling and pain after surgery.
In general, you should keep your legs elevated
Apply a cold compress or ice to your knee
Get as much rest as you can.
The surgeon will advise you on when to ice your knee, how long to use crutches, and when you can put weight on your knee again.
You'll also find out when you can shower or bathe when you should change your dressings, and how to take care of your post-operative wounds.