ACL reconstruction is a common procedure used to correct a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This ligament plays an essential role in stabilizing the knee joint and preventing injury during physical activities. ACL injuries are common in athletes, especially soccer, basketball, and football players. This blog will discuss everything you need to know about ACL reconstruction, including who is eligible for the procedure, the surgical process, recovery time, and possible complications.
Who Is Eligible for ACL Reconstruction?
An ACL tear is a prevalent injury that can happen to both athletes and non-athletes alike. However, not everyone with an ACL tear will require surgery. It largely depends on the person's age, activity level, and the severity of the injury. Young athletes who want to return to sports that involve jumping, pivoting, or cutting are typically good candidates for ACL reconstruction surgery. However, older adults or those with sedentary lifestyles may not require surgery to lead a normal life.
The Surgical Process
The surgeon will make a small incision over the knee joint and use a camera and arthroscopic instruments to remove the damaged ligament. Afterward, the surgeon will affix a fresh ligament to the bone utilizing screws or other appropriate fixation devices. The new ligament can come from a donor, a cadaver, or the patient's own body. In some cases, the surgeon may need to repair other ligaments or cartilage in the knee at the same time.
After the surgery, the patient will spend a few hours in the recovery room before being discharged. Throughout the initial recovery period, which may extend for several weeks, the patient will need to rely on crutches and wear a knee brace to provide support. Additionally, attending physical therapy will be necessary. While most people can go back to their normal activities several months post-surgery, some professional athletes may take longer.
Like any surgical procedure, ACL reconstruction carries potential risks, including infection, blood clots, and damage to nearby nerves and blood vessels. It is important to be aware of these potential complications. Additionally, some patients may experience knee stiffness or weakness after the surgery. To minimize complications, patients should diligently adhere to their surgeon's postoperative instructions and attend all follow-up appointments. This not only ensures their well-being but also aids in optimizing the healing process.
ACL reconstruction is a procedure that effectively restores knee stability while reducing the risk of future injuries. If you do undergo ACL reconstruction surgery, remember to follow your surgeon's postoperative instructions carefully to ensure a successful recovery.