Is ACL reconstruction surgery right for you?
The anterior cruciate ligament, also known as the ACL, is situated in the front of the knee and enables the knee to move back and forth, in conjunction with the posterior cruciate ligament. When injured, the patient’s knee may become unstable and, in serious cases, the tibia bone may be able to slip out of place.
Although ACL injuries account for a significant number of knee injuries, not all patients will require ACL reconstruction surgery. Grade 1 and Grade 2 sprains may be treated with a mixture of rest, anti-inflammatory medication and, if necessary, physiotherapy.
When there is a substantial partial or complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament, however, ACL reconstruction surgery is often necessary. Without treatment, patients may experience pain, swelling, reduced movement and ongoing discomfort.
Who is eligible for ACL reconstruction surgery?
Before undergoing ACL reconstruction surgery, your physician will assess your overall health to determine whether or not you’re a candidate for surgery. As ACL reconstructions are generally performed via keyhole surgery, the operation is not considered to be particularly invasive.
As ACL injuries often occur during sports or exercise, a considerable number of patients may be keen amateur or professional sportsmen and women. If you want to return to sport after an ACL injury, it is particularly important to obtain the appropriate treatment as further use of your knee could exacerbate the damage and may cause additional injuries to occur.
How long does it take to recover from ACL reconstruction surgery?
In most instances, surgeons cannot simply stitch the anterior cruciate ligament back together, so a graft is required. Once in place, new tissue will grow on and around the graft, providing stability to the knee joint.
In general, recovery from ACL surgery can take between two and six months, although it may be longer until you’re able to perform sports at your usual standard. However, each patient is different and may require different forms of physical therapy before they regain a full range of motion in the knee.