The ACL or the anterior cruciate ligament, a ligament in the knee, helps provide stability to the knee during activities that involve jarring, turning, twisting and jumping.
ACL injury is a very common sports injury treated by orthopedic physicians - especially in sports like soccer or basketball or tennis, where players make quick direction changes, sometimes forcefully twisting and turning the knee.
If you are suffering from a moderate to more severe ACL injury, chances are you may be considering ACL surgery or ACL reconstruction. ACL injuries can be quite painful, often accompanied by noticeable swelling and a restricted range of motion.
Unfortunately, when the ACL tears, it does not get better on its own. ACL injuries can be very serious, and as with many medical conditions, if you have an ACL injury, you should seek out the qualified advice and treatment of a medical professional like a board certified orthopedic physician.
If your ACL tear requires ACL surgery, repair and reconstruction, it is helpful to note that surgery for an ACL tear is outpatient. The arthroscopic procedure completed by an orthopedic surgeon typically last about sixty minutes.
When an ACL is torn, it must be reconstructed. The ligament cannot be sutured back together. Orthopedic surgeons use a graft to reconstruct the ACL. Orthopedic surgeons either use an Autograft or an Allograft. An Autograft comes from the patient's own body. An allograft comes from a donor/cadaver. Your orthopedic physician will help guide you as to the best type of graft to use to reconstruct your anterior cruciate ligament.
Here are 7 more facts about ACL surgery, repair and reconstruction:
- The ACL is the 6th most common procedure for orthopedic surgery.
- There are more than 100,000 ACL surgeries every year.
- ACL reconstruction helps to improve stability and function of the knee.
- ACL reconstruction reduces the risk of chondral and meniscal injuries.
- ACL reconstruction does not protect the knee from degenerative joint disease.
- Autografts are often recommended for patients under 40 years of age.
- Allografts are typically used with older patients and for ACL revision surgery.
If you think you have an ACL injury, you may want to consult a board certified orthopedic surgeon for a thorough exam and more information about your treatment options.
You may be required to have an MRI Scan which is often considered the gold standard for diagnosis of an ACL tear.
More emphasis needs to be placed on preventing ACL injuries, especially among athletes, to try to decrease the number of people that experience this painful injury. There are a number of ACL injury prevention programs already in practice that can be very beneficial in helping athletes avoid injury and damage to the anterior cruciate ligament.