An Article for Those Asking, “Do I Need ACL Surgery?”

March 6th, 2015

 Anterior cruciate ligament injuries are among one of the most common orthopedic knee problems. When we look into the nature of the injury, it’s not hard to understand why. An ACL tear can occur due to direct impact (such as a tackle taken during a football game) or if the knee is twisted or bent excessively. 

For some patients, their ACL injury is the result of a car accident and for others, a “popping” noise comes with a fall on an icy sidewalk. Regardless of the cause, if you have sustained an injury to your knee and are experiencing resulting pain, swelling and limited mobility, you may already be wondering, “Do I need ACL surgery?”
Why is Surgery Often Required?
The severity of injuries to this ligament are diagnosed in sprain levels. These levels indicate whether the band is stretched, loosened or in a worst case scenario, is completely torn. The majority of ACL tears are complete or nearly complete. These types of severe tears usually require surgical intervention. 
The location of this ligament within the knee joint keeps it from having access to a blood supply that would allow it to heal on it’s own.
If you’ve sustained an ACL injury, it is likely that other parts of your knee have also been effected simultaneously. You may have torn cartilage or another ligament may also be strained which requires surgery to repair.
All About ACL Reconstruction Surgery
A visit to a sports medicine doctor will reveal whether you do indeed have a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The physician will do a physical exam and may order an MRI for confirmation. An x-ray can help show whether there is accompanying bone damage as well.
If the answer to your question, “Do I need ACL surgery?” is yes, then it’s time to get educated and informed about the procedure. For the same reason that a torn ACL wouldn’t heal on it’s own (poor blood supply), a repaired ACL would not have the necessary environment to fully heal, recovery and strengthen after being merely stitched together. Repair surgeries require the body to assist in the natural, follow-up process of healing. In most torn ACL cases then, the best option, then, is to perform a reconstruction procedure, rather than a repair.
What Does an ACL Surgery Entail?
After the initial diagnosis and pre-surgery visits with a qualified physician, you will be schedule for a procedure date.
Prior to the surgery, you will have also decided (with your physician) about whether your replacement ligament will be taken as a graft from your own body or from a donor.
During surgery, the new ligament is arthroscopically threaded through the knee, where it is anchored to the leg bones.
In the recovery process, the new ligament grows in strength and stability. You can expect to be biking in as soon as three weeks and running on a treadmill as soon as ten.
If you’re asking, “Do I need ACL surgery?” then Rothman Orthopaedic Institute physicians have the answer! Call today to set up an appointment. Our number is 1-800-321-9999.
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