Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction

What is an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and what is ACL reconstruction?

man holding onto his knee

There are several ligaments joining your thigh bone (femur), shin bone (tibia), and kneecap (patella). The cruciate ligaments are found inside your knee joint, forming an “X” with the anterior cruciate ligament in front and the posterior cruciate ligament at the back. The cruciate ligaments control the back and forth motion of your knee and provides rotational stability.

ACL reconstruction is surgery to repair or reconstruct the anterior cruciate ligament in your knee to restore its function after an injury or tear.

Why should I see a specialist for Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction?

You may be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon after for ACL reconstruction if you suffer an Injury to the anterior cruciate ligament. Such an injury can occur when you:

● Stop suddenly
● Change direction rapidly
● Slow down while running
● Landing from a jump incorrectly
● Direct contact or collision

At the time of the injury, your knee would have felt unstable and a “popping” sound might have been heard. You may experience pain, loss of motion, and discomfort while walking.

Treatment would depend upon on your needs. A young athlete will likely require surgery to safely return to sports. The less active, usually older, individual may be able to return to a less active lifestyle without surgery.

Enquire with our orthopaedic surgeons.

Did you know?

ACL reconstruction is the preferred cost-effective treatment strategy for ACL tears compared to structured rehabilitation.

When the cost of earnings are factored in over a patient’s lifetime, the savings from the procedure and gains from improved quality of life far outweighs that of structured rehabilitation¹.

What are the risks of Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction?

two feet climbing stairs in sneakers

When ACL reconstruction is done using knee arthroscopy, a minimally invasive technique, it has a low complication rate. Any complications such as those listed below, are generally considered to be minor:

● Knee stiffness
● Infection
● Blood clots

How should I prepare for my appointment?

At your appointment, your surgeon will discuss your symptoms and medical history, and conduct a physical examination to check your injured knee and compare against your non-injured knee. You should be prepared with any past imaging examinations done, such as X-Rays and MRIs.

What can I expect during ACL reconstruction?

woman outdoors in leggings holding her knee

During the ACL reconstruction, your surgeon will replace your torn ligament with a graft usually obtained from the patellar tendon. This can be done using an arthroscope with small incisions which means less pain and a quicker recovery time. As it takes time for the graft to regrow, the recovery time for an athlete to return to sports can be as long as six months.

What happens after my ACL reconstruction?

Physiotherapy is vital to rehabilitate your knee and get you back to your daily activities. It will help you regain knee strength and motion. After your surgery, the physiotherapy will focus on regaining your motion followed by a greater emphasis on strengthening to protect the growing graft. Physiotherapy will also help you make a functional return to your sport when you are ready.

Request an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon today.

[1] Mather RC, Koenig L, Kocher MS, et al. Societal and Economic Impact of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears. J Bone Jt Surgery-American Vol. 2013;95(19):1751-1759. doi:10.2106/JBJS.L.01705.