The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is a structure that runs through the interior knee and is one of 4 major ligaments that link the femur bone to the tibia bone and provide stability to the knee joint.
It can be torn or injured through a variety of twisting or buckling injuries to the knee. When this occurs, there is only limited scope for the ligament injury to heal by itself and the knee can be left with an enduring sense of instability or frequent episodes of giving way. What’s more, there are other structures inside the knee (the menisci) that can be injured either at the time of the initial knee injury or on any subsequent episode of knee collapse.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Surgery (ACL or Knee Reconstruction Surgery) involves replacing the torn cruciate ligament with a new ligament which is made from biological tissue obtained from the patients’ own body. In most situations, 2 tendons from the hamstring muscles are used for this purpose, but occasionally grafts from other locations are required.
The majority of the operation is performed using arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery and in most instances Dr Doneley aims for surgery to involve one overnight stay in hospital with early return to walking/bending of the knee. Regular work with your physiotherapist is then undertaken in the following months as the musculature around the knee is rebuilt and the ACL graft grows in strength.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament reconstruction surgery is very much a “function restoring” operation with the ultimate goal being to provide “functional stability” to the knee joint – that is, the ability of the joint to be trustworthy and withstand twisting/pivoting forces without buckling, collapsing or creating a sense that the knee wants to give way.