What is ACL Repair/Reconstruction?
ACL repair/reconstruction is a well-known minimally invasive procedure that repairs a torn ACL. The procedure is one of the most commonly performed in orthopedic surgery. Usually, it is performed on athletes and active individuals who tear their ACL while competing or training. Procedure steps include the following:
- Anesthesia. A board-certified anesthesiologist administers general anesthesia and pain medications. The anesthesiologist monitors the patient through the entire procedure to make sure they are completely asleep and not in pain.
- Incisions. 2-3 incisions are made around the patella. An arthroscopic camera is placed in the incisions and guided into the joint so the torn ACL can be visualized. If the patient’s hamstring muscles are used for the new ACL, a separate incision is made near the top of the shin bone and the hamstring tendons are harvested.
- Ligament Repair/Reconstruction. The torn ACL is removed and a tendon graft from the patient’s hamstring tendons or a cadaver tendon replaces it. Special devices are used to secure the tendon to the tibia and femur bones.
The incisions are carefully closed and sterilely dressed after a physical examination confirms the new ligament is secure and functional. The knee is placed in a comfortable hinge knee brace set to a locked position. The patient returns home after they are awake and alert. Physical therapy is started as soon as possible and continues throughout recovery to help the patient recover and regain strength, flexibility, and function. Totally recovery time is usually 6-8 months.
What Does an ACL Repair/Reconstruction Treat?
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) attaches the tibia (shin bone) to the femur (leg bone) and is very important because it stabilizes the knee and helps it move properly. ACL tears occur when the knee is twisted and a force pushes against it in the opposite direction. Symptoms include:
Patients find it is extremely difficult to walk without feeling like their knee will give out. Some partial ACL tears may heal with nonsurgical treatment options. The majority of complete tears will not heal without surgery.
At Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey (OICJ) our Board-certified and Fellowship-Trained knee specialists Dr. Michael Sclafani, Dr. Anthony Petrosini and Dr. Toby Husserl are experts in performing ACL repairs/reconstructions. Please make an appointment today if you have been injured and would like a treatment solution.