An Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear is an injury to the ligament in your knee that keeps your shinbone from sliding forward. The ACL stabilizes your knee, so tearing it either partially or completely can cause pain and swelling.
The prospect of undergoing surgery to reconstruct a torn ACL often provokes many questions and concerns among patients. These questions range from whether surgery is necessary, to what type of surgery should be performed, to concerns about recovery time. We will be answering a few of these frequently asked questions below.
In What Cases Can ACL Reconstruction Surgery Be Avoided?
ACL tears do not heal well on their own, however, there are some cases where non-surgical treatment may be the most appropriate treatment for a particular patient. Patients who are older or less active and who have significant arthritis may be better served by a rehabilitation program than surgery.
Who Is A Candidate For ACL Reconstruction Surgery?
ACL reconstruction is the best treatment option for active patients. This is particularly true for athletes, especially those who play sports that require pivoting. If you are still experiencing knee instability after completing a rehabilitation program, or if you have injured more than one knee ligament, ACL reconstruction surgery may be recommended. For these types of patients, the likelihood of re-injuring the knee is higher, which is why proper reconstruction and healing are so critical.
What Types of ACL Reconstruction Surgery Are Available?
Reconstruction surgery involves replacing the damaged tendon with a tendon taken from another place, a source called a tendon graft. This can be achieved by using donor tendon from a tissue bank or by using portions of your own tendon, removed from your patellar tendon, your hamstrings, your quadriceps muscle, or a combination.
Each type of surgery has advantages and disadvantages, and the most appropriate option depends not just on the specifics of your injury, but on the type of graft, methods of securing the graft, and rehabilitation protocols. Dr. Larson will recommend the best option for you based on your individual needs and these various factors.
How Long Will Recovery Take?
While recovery time varies from person to person, ACL reconstruction surgery typically means a recovery period of several months up to a year. To ensure proper and timely healing, you’ll need to commit to a rehabilitation program that will focus on restoring range of motion and strengthening your knee.
The goal of ACL surgery is to restore stability to your knee and bring you back to the level of function you had before your injury. If left untreated, an ACL injury may lead to serious loss of function and mobility and even degeneration and damage to other knee structures.
If you’ve suffered from an ACL tear, Dr. Larson is experienced and qualified to help you on your road to recovery. To schedule an appointment, give Dr. Larson a call at 435-774-8512. For more information on preventing knee injuries or on other procedures, Dr. Larson offers, visit our website.