ACL (anterior circulate ligament) tears can result from accidents, usually related to strenuous athletics. You should seek a diagnosis from an experienced orthopedic knee surgeon if you suspect a torn ACL or experience pain and swelling in the knee area. So how do knee surgeons fix a torn ACL?
How Surgeons Repair a Torn ACL
If an MRI reveals that the ACL is only partially torn, or simply just sprained, there are non-surgical treatments available. For complete tears, surgery will always be required to make a full recovery. Because ACL injuries can vary in severity, always get a diagnosis from a reputable doctor. Here’s an overview of the popular fixes available for patients with an ACL injury:
1. Non-Surgical Treatment
Minor sprains don’t require surgery, meaning they can heal without intervention or with the help of non-surgical treatments. Non-surgical treatment involves using braces to support and protect the knee joint from instability.
Knee surgeons will also suggest physical therapy to increase blood circulation and strengthen the surrounding ligaments. Non-surgical treatment can resolve sprains and isolated cases but is limited when it comes to severe tears and associated injuries like MCL tears, meniscus, and fractures. Such injuries require major surgical procedures.
2. Surgical Treatment
Surgery is the most popular treatment for torn ACL and can restore the knee’s internal structures to support maximum stability. Surgeons cannot stitch torn ACL back together because of the surrounding environment.
For now, the popular solution for repairing ACL tears is grafting, but recent studies are looking into techniques that may enable reconstruction of the ligament without grafting in the near future.
ACL reconstruction is an outpatient procedure beginning with a scan to identify and remove the damaged ligaments. The surgeon will then replace the ligaments with an autograft or allograft. Autograft involves using tissue from another body part, such as the patellar, hamstring, or quadriceps tendon. Allograft is tissue from a deceased donor, such as the cadaver tendon.
Working with an Orthopedic Knee Surgeon
Orthopedic knee surgery is the best solution for treating a torn ACL and can fix other knee issues/damages. The procedure involves several small incisions and a minuscule camera/instrument to provide the surgeon with a clear view of the knee joint. Surgery duration will depend on the severity of the tear, and recovery takes six to 12 months.
ACL surgery is minimally invasive and heals relatively fast. The surgeon will secure the graft ligament to the shin and thigh bones using sutures. Most patients can easily move their knees immediately after the surgery, so there’s no need for an overnight stay at the clinic. The surgeon will also recommend post-operative rehabilitation.
Trustworthy Knee Surgery for Torn ACL
ACL sprains and minor tears can heal with the help of physical therapy and regenerative medicine, but most issues require surgery. Your orthopedic surgeon will suggest lifestyle changes to improve recovery and range of motion and maximize long-term outcomes. The goal is to increase strength and restore balance. Some knee surgeons also recommend knee braces.
For sports injuries like a torn ACL, look for an experienced orthopedic knee surgeon such as Dr. Noyes at Noyes Knee Institute. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Noyes, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with an internationally recognized authority, and get on the road to recovery today.