The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is a tough, fibrous band that connects and stabilises the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone).
The ACL is important for normal knee function and stability.
Surgical reconstruction is performed by replacing the ligament with a tendon graft harvested from the patellar (kneecap) tendon, or hamstring tendon at the back of the thigh.
Torn ACL symptoms can include but are not limited to swelling of the knee, the knee feeling stiff and swollen and hard to bend, a feeling of the knee “giving way’ or being unstable.
After injury – the knee may take 6 weeks to return to reasonable function. A return to sports can be limited due to instability.
Some common reasons for ACL reconstruction are:
The knee tends to “give way” during unstressful activities and in the course of normal daily activities
The patient wants to continue with athletics / sports
The patient is a high level athlete and requires a “stable” knee
The patient wants to prevent further injury to the joint that can be caused by instability
Physiotherapy is often recommended in the treatment of ACL injuries
Strength in the leg muscles may compensate for a partial loss of function of the ACL
It is recommended that the patient ceases smoking for at least 2 weeks before surgery as smoking delays and interferes with the healing process.