Anterior Cruciate Ligament Surgery

Anterior cruciate ligament surgery is a tissue replacement surgery for replacing the anterior cruciate ligament, reinstating its functioning after severe damage. The anterior cruciate ligament that partially controls knee mobility runs through the middle of the knee and inhibits tibia from slipping out in front of the femur bone, thus offering rotational flexibility to the kneecap. Most of the problems arising through the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) occur mainly when the ligament suffers an injury in combination with damage to the surrounding knee structures like meniscus, ligaments, anterior cartilage etc.

ACL is most commonly observed in those involved in high-risk sports like basketball, football, hockey etc. It occurs even without the involvement of the opponent, either due to knee twisting or swiveling, or wrong landings. While most of those who have their ACL affected can survive the pain with basic medication, there are those for whom the pain is persistent and unmanageable. In these cases, there comes a need of Surgery for ACL Tear.

The incidence of ACL injuries is currently estimated at approximately 200,000 annually, with 100,000 ACL reconstructions performed annually. Due to differences in neuromuscular strength, physical conditioning control and the supporting features of ligamentous laxity and estrogen effect on ligaments, female athletes, and the female population in general, are more prone to ACL damage than male athletes and persons.

When evaluated initially, a medical practitioner suggests an X-ray to check for any visible fractures and, depending on results, they may also suggest a magnetic resonance imaging scan to check for knee ligament or cartilage injuries. He checks to see if the ACL is intact or else proceeds to check for ligament tear in knee.

The treatment may be surgical or non-surgical, depending on the extent of damage and physician’s suggestion. In the non-surgical method, improved physical therapy and rehabilitation may help restore the ligaments, but they are more prone to secondary damage because of the instability. Surgical treatment can be chosen, with various surgery packages online. It is more demanding when other injuries are involved. It is done by replacing the damaged segment with a tendon graft (patellar, quadriceps or hamstring).

The prognosis for a moderately-damaged ACL is often conducive, with the minimum recovery and rehabilitation period expected to be at least three months. However, some patients who have partial ACL tears still continue to show oscillating prodromes. With close clinical observation of the unstable condition and physical therapy, patients with these conditions might benefit and recover quicker.

Complete ACL ruptures have a considerable and slightly more favorable outcome. There are cases where even after a complete ACL tear, some patients are unable to participate in cutting or pivoting-type sports, while others have instability even during normal day-to-day activities, such as walking and running. There have also been certain cases where individuals can participate in sports without any symptoms of instability coming up at all. This may vary to any extent depending on the severity of initial knee damage, as well as the desire of the person to get better.

Physical therapy is a critical part of rehabilitation and recovery, with physiotherapeutic exercises starting immediately post-surgery. The extent of recovery depends on the dedication of the patient to meticulous physical therapy. By proper physical fitness and regular suggested medication, the recovery time can be anywhere between 3-6 months, and if the ACL surgery is completely successful, then they can even return to sports without using a brace.