ACL reconstruction, or anterior cruciate ligament repair, is a surgical procedure performed to reconstruct the ligament in the center of the knee when it is damaged. The ACL keeps the shin bone in place. A tear can cause the knee to be very unstable. This can increase the likelihood of a meniscus tear. ACL reconstruction can be used to repair:
General anesthesia is typically provided through a regional anesthesia or a block could also be used. The tissue used to replace the ACL will come from the patient’s body or from a donor. Tissue taken from the patient is an autograft usually from the knee cap tendon or the hamstring tendon. Tissue from a donor is an allograft. The procedure is typically performed using knee arthroscopy. During the operation, a tiny camera is inserted into the knee through a small incision and is connected to a video monitor. The surgeon will use this to view the ligaments and other tissues of the knee. Other small incisions will be used to insert the medical instruments needed for repair. Any damage found will be addressed and then the ACL will be replaced using the following steps:
Most patients can return home the same day. A knee brace is usually worn for one to four weeks; crutches are also usually used. The knee can be moved right after surgery and helps prevent stiffness. Physical therapy will also frequently be used for around 4 to 6 months.