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is given through the spine. The doctor may give you a sedative to keep you relaxed and ease anxiety.
Description of the Procedure
IVs will be placed in your arm or hands for medications and fluids. The doctor will examine the range of motion of the knee and confirm the ACL tear. Next, the doctor will locate another tendon in your knee or hamstring (called autograft) to reconstruct the torn ligament. Sometimes a donor graft (called allograft) is used. The doctor will form the graft tendon to the correct size.
One or two small keyhole incisions will be made on the top of the knee. An arthroscope (or endoscope) and tiny tools will be inserted into the knee joint. The torn ACL is removed and other damage to the knee is trimmed or repaired. In order to reconstruct the tendon, the doctor will drill holes through bone structures in the thigh and shin. The new graft will be placed through these holes. Needles may be threaded through the holes to suture the new tendon into place. Other devices, such as screws, washers, or staples are also used to hold the graft in place.
Once the graft is securely in place, the doctor will test the knee’s range of motion. Other tests will be done as well. The skin will be closed with stitches. Bandages and/or a brace will be placed on the knee.
How Long Will It Take?
About two hours.
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will block pain during the procedure. You will have pain after the procedure. Ask your doctor about medication to help manage pain.
Average Hospital Stay
This procedure is done in a hospital setting. You can usually go home the same day. If you have complications, you may need to stay longer.
At the Hospital
After the procedure, the hospital staff may provide the following care:
Monitor your vital signs as you recover from the anesthesia.
Medication to manage pain.
Antibiotics to prevent infection.
Medication that prevents blood clots.
Place ice packs on your knee.
Show you how to use a continuous passive motion machine.
Teach you how to use crutches or knee brace.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
Washing their hands
Wearing gloves or masks
Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
Not allowing others to touch your incisions
When you return home, take these steps:
Take pain medication as directed.
Use crutches or knee brace for as long as the doctor recommends.
Work with a physical therapist.
Gradually begin low impact activities, such as
or cycling, to strengthen the knee.
Keep the incision area clean and dry.
Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
ACL Injury: Does It Require Surgery? American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated September 2009. Accessed May 3, 2013.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated April 12, 2013. Accessed May 3, 2013.
Anterior cruciate ligament injuries. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated March 2009. Accessed May 3, 2013.
Anterior cruciate ligament injuries: treatment and rehabilitation. Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine and Science website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Accessed May 3, 2013.
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery. Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Accessed May 3, 2013.
Knee ligament repair. John Hopkins Medicine website. Available at. ...(Click grey area to select URL) Accessed May 3, 2013.
6/6/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance ...(Click grey area to select URL) Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.