The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee is responsible for preventing the knee from twisting too far in the wrong direction. This ligament runs through the middle of the knee where it can provide optimal stability for the entire joint. When an injury causes this ligament to tear, you can lose the ability to use your knee for many physical activities.
After recovering from the initial injury, it’s possible to walk and perform other basic functions with the knee. However, doing anything that is more physically demanding like running, cutting back and forth or kicking a ball may be inhibited by the torn ACL. In cases where you still need the full use of your knee for work, sports or other activities, you may need ACL reconstruction surgery.
Understanding ACL tears
The ACL is not a single strand of tissue, but it is rather an interwoven collection of tough, fibrous strands. To picture this, think of a braided rope. When the ACL tears, the individual strands separate and fray out similar to the strands of a braided rope when it is ripped in half.
Since reconnecting each of these individual strands is an impossible task, patients either choose to live with the torn ligament or reconstruct the ligament with ACL reconstruction surgery.
How ACL reconstruction surgery works
The goal of ACL reconstruction surgery is to remove a portion of the damaged ligament and replace it with new tissue. This new tissue is usually grafted from another tissue in the knee or is collected from an organ donor.
During the procedure, the surgeon will screw the graft into the correct position between the shin and thigh bones. Over time, this graft will grow new ligament tissue, which should restore stability in the knee.
Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute for ACL reconstruction surgery
Recovering from ACL reconstruction surgery can take several months, but by the end of recovery, you should have full use of your knee again. If you have torn your ACL and are interested in regaining the use of your knee, our team at the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute may be able to help. Contact our team today for more information about ACL reconstruction surgery or to schedule an appointment.