If you or someone you love has experienced an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, you are probably facing a lot of questions about what this injury means and what to expect if ACL surgery is necessary. At Rothman Institute, we know that understanding the facts about a potential procedure is an important element of seeking good care and can also be a source of comfort for both patient and family.
So, whether you already have the diagnosis of a torn ACL in need of reconstructive surgery, or you are still waiting for a verdict from your sports medicine doctor, we at Rothman Institute are here to help you prepare for whatever comes next by answering the commonly asked questions about ACL surgery.
Is Surgery the Only Option?
Ligaments like the ACL are tough, fibrous bands which stabilize our bones where they meet our joints. As such, they do have limited healing capabilities if left to their own natural abilities. For active patients who wish to return to regular athletic activities, or even an active work environment, ACL surgery is almost always necessary.
However, for patients who do not participate in sports or other activities which involve regular pivoting motions, nonoperative treatment may be available. This approach involves weeks of bracing, along with icing, elevation, and possibly anti-inflammatory medication. After this period of rest, physical therapy to increase the patient’s range of motion and knee strength may begin. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an ACL tear, talk with your doctor about which course of treatment may be the best fit.
What Does ACL Surgery Involve?
Most patients who are active with sports or work and have experienced an ACL tear require ACL reconstruction surgery. This procedure reconstructs the ligament by using a graft, a transplanted piece of tissue. This graft is taken either from the patient or from a donor, depending upon the results of a thorough evaluation and discussion with your physician. The selected graft is then threaded through the knee joint, and is placed where the original anterior cruciate ligament was. It is secured on each end and then biologically heals in place, taking on the full role of the ACL over time.
Typically, this procedure is followed up by a period of bracing as well as physical therapy. Often, though, it allows athletic patients to return to their pre-injury level of activity.
Where Can I Find Expert Help?
If you or someone you love is in need of ACL surgery, the knee specialists at Rothman Institute can help. As experts who focus on this unique area of orthopaedics, our knee doctors have the experience necessary to use the latest technology and procedures to help you get back on your feet.
For more information about treatment for a torn or otherwise injured ACL, call 1-800-321-9999.