ACL tears are some of the most common sports injuries that hamper the mobility of athletes across the globe. Back in the day, such injuries would make sportspersons lose their careers and spend the rest of their lives in the aftermath of the injuries. However, treatment procedures like ACL reconstruction surgery help athletes save their careers and get back on the field after being treated by trusted ACL surgeons.
If you or anyone in your family suffers from a serious injury that ends up tearing the ACL, make sure you choose the best ACL surgeon in the city for the reconstruction surgery. For instance, if you are a Gurgaon resident, get yourself treated with the best ACL reconstruction surgery in Gurgaon performed by trusted orthopedic surgeons.
Before diving a little deeper into ACL reconstruction, let us briefly understand ACL tears.
What Are ACL Tears?
ACL stands for the anterior cruciate ligament. It is located in the front portion of your knees, connecting your thigh bone to your shin bone. Your ACL serves the purpose of preventing your knee from moving forward and dislocating the knee joint.
Undue pressure on your knee can lead to complications like ACL tears. This injury ends up fully or partially tearing your ligament. Tearing your ligament can be really painful and make you hear a “pop” sound when your knee gives out. In most cases, the knee immediately starts swelling and makes any movement difficult.
There are three grades of ACL tears, where grade 1 merely involves your ACL getting stretched and grade 3 tears it into two distinct pieces.
A common sports injury, you can end up tearing your ACL due to multiple situations, including:
- Stopping suddenly while running
- Landing awkwardly after a high jump
- Slowing down suddenly while running at a high speed
- Changing the direction of your knee at once while running
- Colliding with someone while running, bending your knee with high pressure
What Is ACL Reconstruction Surgery?
As the name suggests, ACL reconstruction surgery is a surgical procedure that involves reconstructing your ACL using a tissue graft that mimics the ligament’s function. By reconstructing ACL, orthopedic surgeons can gradually return the mobility of athletes, helping them back on track with a new and healthy ACL.
There are two ways in which ACL reconstruction surgery is performed. In the first alternative, the ACL surgeon creates a tissue graft from the patient’s own patellar tendon, hamstring, or quadriceps. The second alternative involves the use of an allograft taken from a donor. The methodology an ACL surgeon chooses differs from one case to another.
One of the biggest benefits of ACL reconstruction surgery is that it is performed through the minimally invasive procedure of arthroscopic techniques. This involves making small incisions inside the patient’s knee and inserting miniature surgical instruments to reconstruct and replace the ACL. However, your surgeon will need to make a larger incision if they need to get the tissue graft from your body.
Major Steps Involved In ACL Reconstruction Surgery
While the definite procedure differs for different cases, here are the major steps involved in an ACL reconstruction surgery:
- The surgery starts when your orthopedic surgeon makes small incisions around your knee joint. These incisions act as portals for the surgical instruments to enter your body.
- The surgeon will now insert the arthroscope into your body. It is a miniature camera used to view the affected area properly. The surgeon will also deliver a saline solution to expand the region around your knee joint. The arthroscope sends the video of the affected region which can be viewed on a monitor.
- Taking the help of the arthroscope, the ACL surgeon examines the affected region surrounding your torn ACL. Any lesions and soft tissues are repaired at this stage.
- Unless you receive an allograft from a donor, the surgeon will now harvest a tissue graft from your body. The graft taken from your body is attached to both ends of the plugs of the bone taken from the tibia and patella. These plugs anchor your graft which will now act as your new ACL.
- Now, the ACL surgeon will insert the new ACL into your femur and tibia with the help of a guide wire.
- The plugs of your bone are secured using screws. Over time, these plugs grow into your surrounding bone, keeping it healthy and safe.
- Finally, the surgical instruments are removed from your body and the ACL reconstruction surgery is complete.
Recovery After ACL Reconstruction Surgery
Ideally, it takes six to nine months for patients to recover after ACL reconstruction surgery. The post-surgical rehabilitation phase is extremely important for patients and surgeons should ensure that their patients receive thorough rehabilitation. If you are seeking ACL reconstruction surgery, look for doctors and hospitals who understand the importance of rehabilitation.
Once your ACL reconstruction surgery is successfully completed, you can go home the same day while walking on crutches or leg braces. In the days that follow, you will need to follow the instructions of your surgeon and physiotherapist to restore your knee’s strength, agility, and range of motion. Especially if you are an athlete, make sure you pay undivided attention to rehabilitation to recover in the best way possible.
Here are a few major exercises and activities you should perform once you return home after ACL reconstruction surgery:
- Range of motion and knee strengthening exercises (during early recovery)
- Mild running exercises (around four months after surgery)
- Pivoting exercises (around five months after surgery)
- Playing competitive sports (around six months after surgery)
If you are a professional athlete, you might need to wait a little longer before returning to the field. Consult your ACL surgeon and physiotherapist before diving back into your game.
The Final Word
These were some of the most important aspects you should know about the impact ACL reconstruction surgery has on an athlete. If you are an athlete who has torn your ACL, do not panic and seek quality orthopedic care from the best ACL surgeon in your city.