Richa Madaan

Richa Madaan

What is ACL Repair Surgery?

  Mar 18, 2024

 ACL Repair Surgery

Sometimes, we tend to engage in rigorous or athletic activities like playing soccer, football, basketball, or obstacle-sprinting that involve making pivoting movements

This is a type of movement that requires one of the feet of the player (pivot foot) to be on the ground still while the other one steps in any direction, which could lead to injuries associated with ligaments. But these could also be caused by work or automobile accidents.

Speaking of which, these injuries are termed Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in which the pain initially starts with a ‘pop’ sound and the affected area swells up soon after. Although it may soon fade away, the knee may ‘give way’ making the individual stumble or fall due to instability.

Are you also a victim of this? Let us delve deeper into the world of ACL repair surgery to understand how they work and the types of ligaments like lateral collateral ligaments.

Understanding Types Of Knee Ligaments & ACL Injuries

Knee Ligaments & ACL Injuries

Ligaments are short & tough bands of flexible fibrous connective tissues that help in attaching the bone to bone (retains an organ in a position). They provide stability to the joints, organs, and bones throughout our body.

So when we talk about our knees, there are 4 types of ligaments associated with them:-

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (Centre of the knee)
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament  (Back of the knee)
  • Lateral Collateral Ligaments  (Inner knee stability)
  • Medial Collateral Ligament (Outer knee stability)

Especially as we focus on the Anterior Cruciate Ligament, which is a band of dense connective tissues present in the middle of the knee. It ranges from the tibia to the femur and prevents the shin bone from sliding out from the thigh bone.

Movements of flexion and extension are observed in this area.

The cruciate injury often causes excruciating pain, and you can know about it through a popping sound followed by swelling. Putting weight on the leg affected, bending it, and jumping becomes impossible at that moment. 

One may not even be able to walk or stand properly because, in cases of ACL injuries, it’s the central part of your knee is impacted since your shin bone’s forward movement is disrupted due to the tear. They could be the result of strenuous or athletic activities.

The ultimate solution for such ruptures is undergoing surgery, since the ligament is usually unable to self-recover from it. So seeking a professional and experienced doctor like K. Mathew Warnock, MD  is the necessity of the hour for recovering.

National Ligament Annual Report

Did You Know?
According to the reports of National Ligament Annual Report UK 2022, a total of 18,668 patients were registered between 1st December 2012 and 31st December 2021!

Aim Of The ACL Repair Surgery

ACL repair surgery is done for the reconstruction of the torn ligament of the knee, with the goal of surgical revision to replicate the previous stability within the knee and to avoid joint degeneration!

When the procedure goes on, it is ensured that patients will be able to recover their mobility and movement like before within the given physiological healing time frame.

The Process of ACL Repair Surgery

ACL Repair Surgery

The procedure involves tissue grafting either from the patient’s body (known as an autograft) or the donor’s body (known as an allograft). It is obtained from the main patellar tendon or the hamstring.

Surgery involves the reconstruction by drilling into the bone tunnels into the tibia and the femur, this helps in removing the torn ligament the ACL graft is placed in the same position using screws, and the knee is stitched back.

It is usually done under general anesthesia, so it will be ensured that you are going to be asleep and feel nothing for that duration. The process typically takes about 2 to 2.5 hours maximum, so staying admitted in the hospital overnight won’t be a necessity.

After it is done, a large bandage is wrapped around that covers the knee, knee braces, and crutches as well as with cold pack devices if required. The crutches are given to avoid straining or putting weight on that leg too much.

Ligament Annual Report

Fun Fact!
According to the reports of the National Ligament Annual Report UK 2022, the right knee was operated upon in 52% of those who underwent ACLR surgery in 2020 & 2021 while it was only 48% for the left knee!

Post Recovery

The next phase of recovery involves physical therapy since it is an important part of healing, and it usually starts after 1 week of the procedure being done. The duration of the therapy often varies from patient to patient.

Putting more and more weight is their target during the therapy because this allows you to be independent of crutches sooner. The typical time taken to regain thigh strength is 2 to 3 weeks after the surgery, so knee braces wouldn’t be a requirement then. 

But this doesn’t mean you remove it after that yourself, wait until you’re advised regarding the wound care to do so.

Also, you might use a Continuous Passive Motion machine for bending your knees back and forth simultaneously, but the pace is slow because we want to regain flexibility gradually but successfully!

Final Inputs

ACL surgery is the only option in case you have a grade 3 ligament tear for recovering and regaining your ability to carry out your daily activities without stumbling or being in agony.

So do not delay if you or your loved ones are going through this very ligament tear, go to a specialist now!

Happy recovery!