ACL Reconstruction (Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction)
We’ve all heard about it, but what is ACL? Your ACL is your anterior cruciate ligament, a band of fibrous tissue that joins your thigh and shin bones together at your knee joint. It helps to stabilise your knee when you perform front to back and pivoting or twisting movement.
ACL knee injuries can happen whilst taking part in sports such as skiing, tennis, squash, football and rugby. They are a common types of knee injury where your ACL ligament is torn or ‘ruptured’.
An ACL injury may stop you from doing your normal activities or sports as your knee loses its full range of motion, becomes unstable and painful. Your knee may give way or it may feel like it is giving way. ACL repair surgery, known as ACL reconstruction, may then be recommended to rebuild your torn ligament.
What is Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction?
Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction is knee surgery to reconstruct your damaged ACL knee using a graft of new tissue typically a tendon taken from another part of your knee.
What are the benefits of ACL?
The benefits of successful reconstruction ACL surgery are that your knee should be stabilised and therefore not give way anymore. This surgery aims to relieve your pain and allow you to be more active and return to playing some or all of your sports such as football, rugby, netball or skiing. It also reduces your risk of further knee injury.
ACL reconstruction surgery is a usually performed as a keyhole procedure so that it is less invasive than if it were performed using open surgery. This means patients benefit from less pain, minimised risk of infection and, a faster recovery.
What does the operation of ACL involve?
Arthroscopic ACL reconstruction is carried out under general anaesthetic or a spinal anaesthetic and typically takes about an hour.
Your surgeon will then make small cuts in the skin over your knee and insert a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera on the end of it, known as an arthroscope, to see inside your knee.
The remnants of your torn ACL are removed and replaced using a graft usually taken from taken from your patellar tendon or hamstring. Sometimes a graft from a donor will be used.
The replacement ligament graft is fixed into place with special screws drilled into holes in your bones.
What complications can occur after the ACL Reconstruction?
ACL reconstruction is a surgical operation and therefore carries the general risks of surgery including: excessive bleeding, wound infection, developing a blood clot or, an unexpected reaction to the anaesthetic.
Complications specific to ACL reconstruction surgery include:
- Graft failure when the graft tears.
- Kneecap break.
- Nerve damage.
- Knee joint infection.
- Knee joint remains unstable.
- Stiffness or less movement than you had before your injury.
ACL reconstruction cost
If you decide to pay for your treatment, Ramsay offer an all-inclusive Total Care package, where a single one-off payment at a pre-agreed price, delivering direct access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance. You can also spread the cost of your treatment with finance options available.
An ACL Reconstruction may be covered by your medical insurance policy. We advise you to check directly with your insurance provider and get written confirmation before commencing treatment.
ACL reconstruction recovery
You may be able to go home the same day as your surgery or it may be recommended for you to stay overnight.
One of our experienced physiotherapists will give you guidance on exercises and a rehabilitation programme to help you recover as quickly as possible.
You will need to follow your knee surgeon’s advice regarding driving and going back to work as everyone’s recovery rate is different.
An ACL reconstruction recovery typically takes approximately 6 months but it can take up to a year. Most people return to their sporting activities six months after their operation.
ACL reconstructions with Ramsay
Here at Ramsay we understand the pain and anxiety that an ACL injury can cause and, the importance of early surgery to prevent further damage and to get you back to enjoying your daily activities and sporting pursuits as soon as possible.
We endeavour to offer our patients rapid appointments with an expert orthopaedic knee surgeon. Our hospitals are fully equipped with modern facilities to perform ACL reconstruction and onsite support services such as physiotherapy and imaging.