ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) surgery refers to the augmentation and reconstruction of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament in the knee. ACL is a like a rope of connective tissue in the knee that supports stability and mobility. When ACL tears, the person experiences pain, instability, and difficulty walking, playing sports, or performing high-intensity activities. ACL injuries are common in people who play sports as they make movements that can stress the knee, like landing wrong after jumping, stopping suddenly, etc. If the ACL is slightly torn, it generally heals over time with physical therapy. However, if it is completely torn, you need to have it replaced by a professional orthopedic doctor.
In this blog, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about ACL surgery.
ACL Surgery Types
In ACL surgery, the doctor removes the ACL and replaces it with a tendon. The objective is to restore your knee’s stability so that it can become flexible as it was before the injury.
When a tendon is implanted into your knee, it is called a graft. In an ACL surgery, three different graft types can be used:
A tendon from another part of your body is used like your other knee, hamstring, or thigh.
This kind of graft uses an outside source of tissue (for example, a deceased donor).
At this point, synthetic materials are used in place of the tendon. Silk and silver fibers were some of the first ones to be used (in the early part of the 20th century). Teflon and carbon fiber are the most preferred choices, but scientists are still looking for the ideal material to replace ACLs.
What is the ACL Surgery Procedure?
Doctors use arthroscopic techniques to treat torn ACLs. By doing this, they make small incisions around your knee and introduce a camera along with tiny tools. This procedure is less painful and leaves fewer skin scars than open-knee surgery.
The entire process lasts for around an hour. The patient could receive a regional anesthetic, in which the doctor injects drugs into the patient’s back to temporarily numb their legs for a few hours. In general anesthesia, the patient is given some medications in order to put them to sleep throughout the procedure.
The first step is to place the graft in the right position. The doctor will then drill two “tunnels” or holes and implant grafts one above and one below the knee. To hold the graft in place, screws will be placed in the tunnels. As you recover, it acts as a sort of bridge on which a new ligament will form. The new ACL may take a couple of months or more to grow.
Most patients are able to return home the same day after surgery. The doctor will advise you to rest your knee, keep your leg off the ground, and wear a brace to safeguard the joint. However, researchers are also working with physicians to determine whether a new approach to ACL surgery is more effective than standard care.
BEAR or Bridge-Enhanced ACL surgery, as compared to traditional ACL surgery, allows the injured ACL to heal without the need for replacement. In this procedure, the doctor inserts a special tiny sponge into the patient’s knee between the torn ACLs. Then, they inject the sponge and stitch the torn ends of the ACL. It serves as a support for ACL. The ACL eventually heals and regenerates into healthy ACL tissue.
Are there any risks associated with ACL surgery?
As with any other type of surgery, ACL surgery may cause some undesired risks, like infection, trouble breathing, bleeding at the wound, or anesthesia reactions. Besides, the risk may also include knee stiffness, a graft not healing well, or pain in the knee. However, these signs heal with time. Make sure to consult a professional ACL surgeon to get the surgery done and follow the doctor’s advice.
Is ACL Surgery always necessary?
If you only have a partial tear, ACL surgery might not be essential, but it should still be taken into account if you want to keep playing sports. People who don’t have any symptoms or who don’t have a very active lifestyle may opt not to go for surgery.
To find the best course of treatment for your lifestyle, visit the best ACL doctor in Chandigarh. To determine if your ACL is torn and requires surgery, your doctor runs a number of tests, like MRI, Lachman’s Test, X-Ray, etc. After studying the test reports, the doctor will advise you on the right treatment and help you get back to your normal lifestyle.
How long does it take to recover from ACL surgery?
The ACL recovery time for each patient varies depending on the severity of the injury and lifestyle. You may start going to physical therapy the day after surgery if no other issues limit your mobility. Although physical therapy can continue for up to a year, the majority of patients finish it between four to six months. After having ACL surgery, the majority are able to stop using crutches or other walking aids in six to eight weeks.
It’s crucial to create a recovery plan with the help of your physician and physical therapist that is tailored to your unique requirements. The recovery period can be longer and more difficult if get back to sports or other strenuous activities before your doctor permits you to do so.
Furthermore, if you have persistent knee pain, or you are dealing with pain that lasts longer, it is recommended to talk to a professional orthopedic surgeon. Reach out to us at drsiddharth_aggarwal.
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