Austin ACL Reconstruction Specialist

When a patient needs to have the ACL ligament in the knee repaired, they can turn to ATX Orthopedics. Here, Dr. Sean Gallagher specializes in ACL reconstruction which can alleviate pain and prevent further damage to the knee. We are located in Central Austin, Texas.

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ACL reconstruction Q&A

What is ACL reconstruction?

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:

  • Instability during daily activities
  • Knee pain
  • Inability to play sports or other perform other physical activities
  • Ligament damage throughout the knee
  • A torn meniscus

How is the procedure performed?

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:

– The torn ligament is removed
– When an autograft is used, the surgeon will make a larger incision to obtain the tissue.
– Tunnels in the bone will be made and the new tissue brought through. This will be in the same place as the original ACL.
– The new ligament is attached with screws or similar devices. As it heals, the bone tunnels fill in.

What happens after the procedure?

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.

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