ACL Reconstruction Arthroscopically
The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of the most commonly injured ligaments in the knee. Running diagonally through the middle of the joint, the ACL works together with three other ligaments to connect the femur (upper leg bone) to the tibia (lower leg bone). People who play sports that are likely to damage the knee – such as basketball, football, skiing and soccer – are at greatest risk for injuring the ACL. Only about 30% of ACL injuries result from direct contact with another player or object. The rest occur when the athlete decelerates while cutting, pivoting, or sidestepping; lands awkwardly; or plays recklessly. About half of ACL injuries are accompanied by damage to the meniscus, cartilage, bone or other ligaments.
ACL reconstruction is a surgical procedure that is performed arthroscopically to rebuild a new ACL with a graft. An ACL reconstruction is sometimes referred to, incorrectly, as an ACL repair. A torn anterior cruciate ligament cannot be “repaired”, and must instead be reconstructed with a tissue graft replacement. Most common choices of graft are “autograft” or using your own tissue for graft, versus “allograft”, otherwise known as cadaver graft. There are pros and cons to both types of graft and these should be discussed by your surgeon prior to the surgery.
The road to recovery begins immediately after the injury has been diagnosed. It is important to meet with your surgeon to diagnose the injury and begin the physical and mental preparation for successful recovery. The key to healing well is to be in the best physical and mental condition you can on surgery day. Therefore, a preoperative physical therapy program is very important to prepare your muscles for the demands that await them after surgery. The better the condition of your leg muscles, especially your quadriceps, the better chance for a successful recovery.