Ligaments are bands of tough connective tissue that run from the femur to the tibia and assist in stabilizing the joint. Ligaments run down both the inside (medial) and the outside (lateral) portions of the knee. These are called the collateral ligaments. The collateral ligaments limit sideways motion. The cruciate ligaments cross from the inside (medial) aspect of the knee and run to the outside (lateral) aspect of the knee. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) will limit rotation and forward motion of the tibia. When the ACL is damaged, it is replaced during ACL Reconstruction. The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is located just behind the ACL limits backward motion of the tibia.
ACL reconstruction will rebuild the damaged ligament in the center of the knee joint. Failure to treat a torn ACL can lead to further tissue damage and early arthritis.
This procedure is done via knee arthroscopy. This technique utilizes a camera inserted into the knee through a small surgical incision. The other surgical instruments used will also be inserted through small incisions. The surgeon will fix any damage to the other ligaments and then will fix the ACL. The torn ACL will be removed and new tissue will be brought through tunnels in the bone. This new tissue will be in the same location (and serve the same function) as the old ACL. The surgeon will finish the procedure by securing the new ligament to the bone with screws or other devices. As the joint heals, the bone tunnels will fill in, further securing the new ligament. The incisions will be closed with stitches and dress the joint appropriately.
Typically, patients are allowed to return home the same day of their surgery. It is required that the patient wear a knee brace for between 1 and 4 weeks following surgery. During this time, crutches will be used to provide extra stability for the patient. Most people are allowed to move their knee right after surgery. Physical therapy can also be used to help the patient regain motion and strength.