Surgery for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries entails fixing the ACL. An ACL reconstruction operation uses a graft to create a new ligament. The most frequently used grafts are autografts which pull from the patient’s own body, such as the patellar tendon which is found in the kneecap or a hamstring tendon. Another option is allograft tissue, which is taken from a deceased donor. Reconstruction surgery is normally employed only in the case of an avulsion fracture. An avulsion fracture is a separation of the ligament and a piece of bone from the rest of the bone. Here, the bone fragment attached to the ACL is reconnected to the bone.
An ACL operation is typically performed by making a small incision in the knee and inserting instruments through this incision; this is known as arthroscopic surgery. Occasionally, it is performed by making a large incision in the knee via an open surgery. Most surgeries are performed arthroscopically which is minimally invasive and heals quicker.
Patients choose to have surgery when they:
Arthroscopic surgery is frequently performed on an outpatient basis. Patients may need to stay in the hospital for a few of days, though rarely. Your knee will be swollen and may be numb around the incision. Your ankle and shin may be bruised or inflamed. You can ice the area to lessen swelling. This will likely go away in a few days and you should begin seeing improvement in the knee shortly. To care for the incision, you need to keep it dry and clean and check for signs of infection.