Rupturing of the anterior cruciate ligament is a frequent injury during sports and recreational activities; therefore, it commonly affects the young and active population. These injuries happen usually in women, who suffer from this injury between 2 and 8 times more than men, when playing soccer, basketball or skiing.
The anterior cruciate ligament is located in the interior of the knee joint, and it keeps the tibia bone fixed. When there is a rupture, the knee cannot perform to its full potential on a day-to-day basis. Anterior cruciate ligament surgery or ACL is a reconstructive surgery that repairs this damage.
This surgery is usually performed with the help of a knee arthroscopy (a small camera that the surgeon introduces via a small incision to check the condition of the ligaments and other tissues of the knee). It is a procedure where the damaged tissue is replaced through a graft. This graft comes from the patellar tendon or the back muscle of the leg.
When is ACL Surgery Necessary?
The most common causes for this surgical procedure are: an unstable knee or an avulsion fracture (when the ligament and a piece of bone get separated). If left untreated, this could cause a tear in the meniscus. This surgery is ideal when:
- There is knee pain.
- Inability to practice sports or exercise.
- The meniscus is damaged.
- A knee does not provide stability in daily activities.
- Other ligaments in the knee are injured.
Are there Risks or Complications?
On rare occasions, this surgery can present surgical complications, such as: bleeding, joint infections, thrombosis, nerve or vessel injuries. However, in exceptional cases other complications may occur:
- Inability of the ligament to adapt.
- Pain consistent in the knee.
- Stiff knee or loss of movement.
- Blood clots and injury to blood vessels.