The anterior cruciate ligament or ACL is one of the most important ligaments in the knee because when it is torn, reconstructive surgery is often necessary to stabilize the knee. Our Beverly Hills orthopedic surgeons specialize in ACL reconstruction.
Anatomy of the Knee
The knee is stabilized thanks to four ligaments, and these ligaments will also make the knee track an unusual direction rather than its normal movement:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
- Medical collateral ligament (MCL)
- Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)
ACL Injury Treatment
When one or more of these ligaments is torn, the knee buckles or gives way. Multiple tears in knee ligaments would also lead to more repairs done in the affected knee. The treatment for ACL tears is reconstructive knee surgery.
When an ACL is torn, surgery is needed to repair the torn ligament. In the past, invasive surgeries were the only option. Today, many ACL reconstructive surgeries can be done arthroscopically with just a few small incisions.
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
Arthroscopic knee surgery is a minimally invasive procedure. Arthroscopy involves small incisions in which the surgeon inserts a camera and tiny surgical tools to perform the operation. Scarring is minimized, and surgical recovery times are considerably shorter. To top it all off, minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery is often just as effective as traditional open surgical procedures. In addition to ACL reconstruction, arthroscopy can be used to fix broken bones and damaged ligaments in other joints of the body.
Arthroscopic knee surgery is commonly used for the following procedures:
- Reconstruction of a torn ACL
- Removal or repair of torn meniscal cartilage
- Trimming of torn pieces of articular cartilage
- Removal of loose fragments of bone or cartilage
- Feel, repair or remove damaged tissue
Knee arthroscopic surgery begins with three small incisions in the skin of the knee-joint area. A small instrument with a camera and a little light called an arthroscope is inserted into the incision that will allow the orthopedic surgeon to see the inside of the joint and the damaged anterior cruciate ligament. The other two incisions will be used for addition instruments that need to be placed inside the joint during surgery.
This type of knee surgery can be classified into minor and major procedures. In major knee operations, a dislocated knee may need to be realigned or grafting operations might be needed fix one or more ligaments. Most arthroscopic knee surgeries are performed in an out patient setting, such as La Peer surgical center, under a General Anesthesia, Spinal or Epidural, a regional block, or local anesthetic. Post-surgery, sterile dressings are placed over the incisions and a Brace Wrap is placed in the region surrounding the joint.
ACL Surgery Recovery
Recovery after major knee surgery like ACL reconstruction can take several months, and patients should progress gradually in their recoveries so as to avoid re-injuring their knees.
In the days immediately after surgery, the primary goal is to reduce swelling and prevent discomfort. The next few weeks of recovery will focus on regaining motion in the knee joint. This involves extending and flexing the knee. The next goal is to regain strength.
After about a month and a half to two months after surgery, patients can begin light jogging, bicycling or swimming. Sports that involve side-to-side movements or pivoting, like basketball or football, should not be attempted at this stage of the recovery until a few months later. Patients can progress to that stage of recovery by performing exercises designed to simulate those activities.
Athletes will be cleared to return to regular sporting activities only after being cleared by their orthopedic surgeon. When doing so, they might be advised to wear a knee brace. All told an ACL reconstructive surgery recovery could take eight months, a year, or two years depending on the severity of the tear.
Contact an Orthopedic Surgeon in Beverly Hills
La Peer Health Systems in Beverly Hills boast some of the country’s finest orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine doctors. We utilize the latest and most effective procedures when performing arthroscopic reconstructive surgeries on the anterior cruciate ligament. To schedule a consultation with one of our talented orthopedic surgeons in Beverly Hills, call (855) 360-9119 or fill out our contact form.
For more information please visit our Knee Surgery Center of Excellence website, dedicated 100% to knee surgery!