Arthroscopic ACL surgery is used to repair an ACL that has been partially or fully damaged (anterior cruciate ligament). ACL injuries account for around 40% of all athletic injuries and can result in long-term discomfort and instability. Depending on the degree of the injury, there are two types of ACL knee surgery that are usually performed: ACL repair and ACL reconstruction.
The majority of ACL knee surgeries are now performed arthroscopically. An arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique in which a special camera and surgical equipment are introduced into small incisions in the knee.
The term “keyhole surgery” refers to arthroscopic ACL surgery. The main benefit is that the surgeon may evaluate the joint and fix any damage without having to fully open the joint. Because there is less damage to the knee, recuperation time is shortened.
What Is An ACL Injury?
When the ACL is severely damaged, arthroscopic ACL surgery is recommended. The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of two ligaments in the centre of the knee that provide stability.
It is a highly robust ligament, but when overstretched, the fibres begin to rupture. With enough effort, it can fully rupture. ACL injuries are most commonly caused by:
Sudden, unnatural movements of the knee, such as twisting or overextending it.
Direct blow: to the outside of the knee when the foot is firmly planted on the ground, as in athletes wearing studs.
ACL injuries are classified into three types:
Grade 1: The ligament has been overstretched, but only 10% of the fibres have been ruptured. It should mend on its own in a few weeks.
Grade 2: More fibres are torn, but the ligament remains intact. ACL injuries may recover with rehabilitation or require arthroscopic ACL surgery.
Grade 3: The ligament has been ruptured, or torn in half. Usually requires arthroscopic knee surgery.
Arthroscopic ACL Surgery Types
Arthroscopic ACL surgery attempts to restore functional knee stability while preserving a complete range of motion.
Depending on the extent of the anterior cruciate ligament damage, there are two methods of arthroscopic ACL surgery:
1. ACL Repair Surgery
Arthroscopic ACL repair surgery is typically performed when the ligament has separated from the bone but is still intact (known as an avulsion). The ligament is reattached to the bone and secured.
If the ligament is partially ripped, the repair is occasionally performed. The ligament is sewn back together by the surgeon so that it can mend. However, because of the high failure rate, it is usually preferable to reconstruct rather than repair.
2. Reconstruction of the ACL
If there is more severe damage, or if discomfort and instability persist, the torn ligament is removed and replaced with a graft, which is usually taken from your hamstring or patellar tendon. This procedure is known as arthroscopic ACL reconstruction. ACL reconstructions are far more prevalent than ACL repairs.
Overly rapid surgery has been associated with an increased failure rate due to the re-rupture of the fresh graft. Your surgeon will almost certainly want to wait until:
- The swelling has subsided.
- You have restored the full knee range of motion.
- You have increased your quadriceps and hamstring muscular strength.
They may send you for physiotherapy before surgery to get you started on a rehab regimen. This will be beneficial to the recuperation process as well.
What Happens During ACL Surgery?
Two or three small incisions are made on the side of the knee for both forms of arthroscopic ACL surgery. A special camera (called an arthroscope) is put into one hole to allow the surgeon to assess the degree of the damage.
After that, special equipment (such as scissors or lasers) is put into the other hole and utilised to repair or remove damaged tissue. The joint is then cleaned and closed with sterile fluid.
What Happens Following ACL Surgery?
Arthroscopic ACL surgery is a long-term solution. Both treatments will be followed by months of rehabilitation to strengthen and stabilise the knee as well as retrain proprioceptive function.
Is Surgery Necessary?
Many people, including those who have ruptured their ACL, recover from ACL injuries without the need for arthroscopic ACL surgery. It all boils down to two factors: how severely the knee’s stability has been compromised and what activities the affected individual wants to resume.
Instability: Arthroscopic ACL surgery is advised if the knee continues to give way/buckle owing to chronic instability. When this happens, the other structures in the knee, particularly the cartilage and meniscus, are in danger of being damaged. It is critical to avoid repeated knee flexion since tearing the meniscus results in less protection for the knee bones and an increased risk of developing arthritis.
The Individual: The need for torn ACL surgery will also be determined by the affected individual’s degree of activity. Someone who wants to return to sports is more likely to require surgery than someone who has a somewhat inactive lifestyle.
Arthroscopic ACL surgery is therefore recommended for people who:
Return to pivoting sports such as football, skiing, tennis, rugby, boxing, or hockey.
Have instability issues with their knee giving way throughout daily activity.
ACL Surgery Alternatives
Not every person who ruptures their ACL requires arthroscopic ACL surgery. Exercise rehabilitation for a partially or completely damaged ACL aims to strengthen the knee muscles so that they can provide enough support and stability to compensate for the torn ACL.
It also aids in the training of muscles and other ligaments to offer proprioceptive feedback to develop more stability. ACL tears typically require several months of rehabilitation to fully recover.
Wearing a knee brace can assist provide support and protection to the knee, preventing it from giving way. There is a range of possibilities.
The ITA-MED Style NKN-132 ROM Post Op Knee Brace 17″ is an excellent choice for this. The Range-of-Motion (ROM) Post-Op Knee Brace features a simple-to-use range-of-motion hinge with pre-set stops and motion locks for quick and easy dorsal and plantar flexion adjustments. Soft foam laminated material provides additional comfort. Hook and loop closures allow for easy adjustment and a precise fit. Lightweight but sturdy and long-lasting. The liner is removable and washable. When the ability to immobilise the knee in full extension is necessary after surgical procedures such as arthroscopic ACL restoration, this device is recommended. The brace is suitable after meniscus surgery, knee ligament problems such as MCL and LCL, and knee fractures.
- Excellent for use following knee surgery or damage.
- Wearable comfort
- Can be worn during sporting events To learn more, go to the ACL knee brace section.