The ACL or anterior cruciate ligament prevents the leg from moving too far forward and helps to stabilize the joint during twisting motions. It is also a ligament that is injured often when people slip or during athletic events. Arthroscopic ACL reconstruction is a minimally invasive surgery that helps repair injuries to the ACL or reconstruct it depending on the severity of the injury.
Surgery is not always the first option for treating injury to the ACL. It is very likely that your doctor will first try physical therapy to see how you respond. Another pre-surgery treatment would be the use of a hinged knee brace that helps stabilize the leg and knee joint. Some knee injuries simply require the joint rest as it recovers. If those options do not work or the results are poor, then you might be a candidate for ACL repair or reconstruction with arthroscopy. Other factors that help you decide if you are a good candidate for arthroscopic ACL repair or reconstruction include how active a person you are, if you are an adult or teen whose growth plates are mature, or if you are a person who has instability in the joint, especially while walking.
General anesthesia is typically provided through a regional anesthesia or a block could also be used. During the operation, a tiny camera is inserted into the knee through a small incision and is connected to a video monitor. The surgeon will use this to view the ligaments and other tissues of the knee. Other small incisions will be used to insert the medical instruments needed for repair. Any damage found will be addressed and then the ACL will be replaced using the following steps:
Most patients can return home the same day. A knee brace is usually worn for one to four weeks and crutches are also usually used. The knee can be moved right after surgery and helps prevent stiffness. Physical therapy is prescribed for between 4- 6 months.