ACL reconstruction is surgery to reconstruct the ligament in the center of your knee. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) connects your shin bone to your thigh bone. A tear of this ligament can cause your knee to give way during physical activity. Most people have general anesthesia right before surgery. The tissue to replace your damaged ACL will come from your own body or from a donor. A donor is a person who has died and chose to give all or part of his or her body to help others.
The procedure is usually performed with the help of knee arthroscopy. With arthroscopy, a tiny camera is inserted into the knee through a small surgical cut. The camera is connected to a video monitor in the operating room. Your surgeon will use the camera to check the ligaments and other tissues of your knee.
If you do not have your ACL reconstructed, your knee may continue to be unstable. This increases the chance you may have a meniscus tear. ACL reconstruction may be used for these knee problems:
- Knee that feels unstable during daily activities
- Knee pain
- Inability to return to sports or other activities
- When other ligaments are also injured
- When your meniscus is torn
The recovery process for the ACL is usually broken down into different phases of rehabilitation. Each phase has its own objectives, however is intertwined with other phases since the goals are as progressive as the recovery itself. The rehabilitation process is at the pace of the patient. Timelines are sometimes given to help give an idea of where one can be during rehabilitation.