Surgical Information - Procedures
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction of the Knee
What is ACL reconstruction?
ACL reconstruction is surgery to rebuild the ligament in the center of the knee with a new ACL ligament and provide stability to the knee.
Most ACL reconstructions are performed using knee arthroscopy. In this minimally invasive procedure, the surgeon makes several small incisions around the knee joint and inserts a narrow fiber optic scope (called an arthroscope) to examine the condition of the knee. Tiny instruments are used to remove the damaged ligament and replace it with a graft. Tunnels are drilled into your femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone) to accurately position the graft, which is then anchored with screws or other fixation devices.
ACL reconstruction surgery uses an autograft (tissue from your body) or an allograft (tissue from a cadaver) to replace the ligament. The autograft method is typically most successful in patients who want to return to a high-demand, athletic lifestyle. As patients get older, and demands diminish, the success of the allograft procedure increases. Ultimately, it depends on the unique needs of each individual. Different techniques work best in different situations.
What is the recovery time?
Return to daily and sports activities varies depending on the surgery and your surgeon. Usually, return to sporting activity is restricted for at least six months. An appropriate physical therapy program is considered critical for the success of ACL reconstruction.