Of the four ligaments in your knee, the ACL is the most likely to get injured. When it gets torn, you can experience knee instability that prevents you from doing high-intensity exercises and playing sports. You may have difficulty even with regular movements if your injury is severe. Conservative treatments might be able to address mild to moderate tears. However, ACL surgery might be your best option for regaining full mobility in your joint.
Surgery For ACL Tears
The anterior cruciate ligament or ACL is the fibrous band of tissue that connects the thigh bone and shin bone. It supports the forward and backward movements and rotation of your shin bone. When your ACL tears, you may experience knee instability and become unable to perform high-intensity movements. Your provider may recommend an ACL reconstruction surgery to help repair your torn ligament and facilitate recovery.
Arthroscopic knee surgery is the typical approach for ACL surgery. Your provider will insert an arthroscope, a thin, long instrument with a camera and surgical tools at its end, through a surgical incision about the size of a buttonhole. The video captured will be projected on a screen to help your surgeon see inside the joint in real-time.
ACL surgery typically uses general or regional anesthesia. You will fall asleep before the surgery if your doctor uses general anesthesia. On the other hand, regional anesthesia only involves numbing or blocking the nerves in the local area of operation. The procedure will be completely pain-free.
Since the procedure uses smaller cuts, it requires a shorter recovery period than traditional surgeries. Usually, you can achieve complete recovery in just six to nine months. The scars may also heal and disappear over time. However, you need to do physical therapy and rehabilitation to regain control of your movements. Therapy will help you relieve joint stiffness, regain strength, increase range of motion, and improve mobility.
ACL reconstruction surgery involves replacing your torn ligament with a tendon or fibrous band of tissue connecting muscles to bones. These tendon replacements are called grafts. There are three types of grafts classified by origin. Your surgeon will decide which graft to use based on what works best for your condition.
The first type of ACL surgery uses an autograft, where the tissues come from your own body. The most common sources of autograft are the kneecap and thigh tendons. Your doctor may source your quadricep tendon or hamstring tendon, located at the front and back of your thigh, respectively. If your orthopedic surgeon uses an autograft, they may create a larger cut to get the tendon from your body.
One advantage of using an autograft is the decreased risk of contamination that may be present in other graft types. However, you may experience additional pain or complications in the area where the autograft was harvested from.
An allograft uses tissue harvested from a living donor. It may also come from someone who died and pledged to donate their body to save others who need transplants. One disadvantage of using allografts is the cost, as they’re more expensive than using autografts.
The most common sources of the graft include the hamstring, Achilles, and kneecap tendons. Allograft use has become safer and more successful over the years. However, failure rates are higher for this graft, particularly for young athletes and active adults.
Professionals are working to develop materials that can function as ACL replacements. As of now, some synthetic options include carbon fiber Polyflex, LARS, and Teflon. A synthetic ligament eliminates the risk of pain and complication. However, synthetic ligaments have thus far had higher failure rates.
Even with the increased probability of failure, medical professionals are hopeful about the use of synthetic ligaments for their potential durability and easier accessibility.
ACL Surgery Near You In Bismarck, ND
An ACL tear, partial or total, can be disruptive to your everyday life because of the knee instability it causes. If you want to recover your full mobility, your provider may recommend surgery and physical therapy. Some people may get by with conservative treatment options, but your knee stability may remain an issue. The type of graft your doctor recommends will depend on what works best for your condition.
If you’re looking for ACL surgery near you in Bismarck, ND, look no further than The Bone & Joint Center. We have a team of board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons who can give you the comprehensive care you deserve.
If you want to know more about our services, you may call our friendly staff at (800) 424-2663 or (701) 946-7400. If you want to book a consultation, you may use our secure online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you at one of our 11 convenient locations!