An Overview Of ACL Repair Surgery For A Knee Injury

Health & Medical Blog

An ACL tear is one of the more common types of knee injuries. The anterior cruciate ligament runs across your knee to keep your knee stable as you run and jump. If you stop suddenly or pivot, the ligament might tear.

This can happen when you're playing sports, but it can also happen if you twist your ankle or trip. ACL injuries can often heal on their own, but when the tear is severe or if you play sports and need a stable knee, your orthopedic doctor may recommend surgery. Here's an overview of ACL repair surgery.

The Surgery Isn't Usually Done Right Away

Your doctor may not schedule you for surgery right away. That's because your knee will be swollen and stiff. When operated on in that condition, your knee might not recover properly. Instead, your doctor may send you to physical therapy for several weeks to strengthen your knee and maintain its range of motion while the swelling goes down.

The Surgery Is A Minimally Invasive Procedure

ACL repair is usually done as an outpatient, although you may need general anesthesia. The surgeon will probably use a minimally invasive technique that uses very small incisions and a camera on the end of a scope. Smaller incisions mean the incisions should heal quicker and have a lower risk of complications.

A Tendon Graft Helps The Ligament Grow Back

A torn ligament usually isn't stitched back together since the ligament might tear in the same place again. Instead, the doctor uses a donor tendon to repair the ligament. The donor tendon may come from your knee or elsewhere in your leg. The tendon is attached to your knee joint to provide a place for your ligament to attach and grow back over time.

Your Knee Shouldn't Bear Weight For Weeks

You'll leave the surgical clinic with a bandage on your knee and with instructions not to bear weight on it. You'll need crutches or some other aid to help you get around. Your knee and lower leg may be swollen, bruised, and stiff.

You may be instructed to rest and keep your knee elevated with ice on it during the initial days after your surgery. You'll be able to stay somewhat mobile, but it could be a few months before you're allowed to walk without crutches or other help.

Recovery Involves Physical Therapy And Patience

You'll be given a list of recovery instructions by your doctor and physical therapist. It's important to follow them closely so your knee heals and allows you to resume playing sports and stay active. You may start physical therapy soon after your ACL repair surgery so your knee doesn't develop adhesions and so it regains full flexibility. You may also need to strengthen your knee muscles after being sedentary after your injury.

Depending on how well you progress and the nature of your injury, it could take several months to heal from the repair surgery. You might not be cleared to resume sports for months, so be patient and keep following your doctor's orders.


22 June 2021

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