Everything You Need to Know About ACL Reconstruction

Kelowna Plastic Surgeon
Calgary Plastic Surgeon

Has your plastic surgeon recommended ACL reconstruction? Here’s what to expect from this surgery & how to achieve a quick and safe recovery. 

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the major ligaments in your knee and is critical to the stability of your knee joint. Made from a tough fibrous material, the ACL functions to control excess knee motion by limiting joint mobility.

One of the most common knee joint problems is an ACL tear and, out of the four major knee ligaments, an ACL rupture is the most debilitating.

If left untreated, it can lead to:

  • Limited mobility
  • Increased risk of developing knee arthritis is the affected knee later on in life
  • Reduced strength in the knee

At Okanagan Health Centre, our board-certified plastic surgeons are highly experienced in the field of ACL reconstruction and use the latest techniques and state-of-the-art technology to quickly and safely restore the full function and health of your knee as soon as possible.

 
 

What Causes an ACL Injury?

Most often, an ACL tear occurs when pivoting or landing from a jump. It is usually a sports-related knee injury and about 80% of sports-related ACL tears are non-contact injuries, meaning it occurs without the contact of another player.

The sports that have a higher incidence of ACL tears include:

  • Football
  • Netball
  • Rugby
  • Basketball
  • Tennis
  • Dance
  • Gymnastics

While you may be able to return to your daily activities without a normal ACL, participating in these high-demand sports may prove difficult. Therefore, it is often recommended that athletes undergo ACL reconstruction in order to return to their previous level of competition.

Want to know if you are a candidate for ACL reconstruction?

 

How is an ACL Reconstruction Performed?

When performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, an ACL reconstruction is a relatively simple and straightforward plastic surgery procedure and is performed arthroscopically.

An ACL reconstruction typically involves the following steps:

  1. The knee is examined by arthroscopy to check for any damage to the menisci or articular surfaces
  2. The old fragments of the ruptured ACL are removed
  3. Tunnels (holes) in the bone are drilled to accept the new graft. This is either taken from your hamstring or patella tendon, depending on what your plastic surgeon recommends.
  4. The graft is prepared to take the form of the new tendon and passed through the drill holes in the bone.
  5. The new tendon is then fixed into the bone with various devices (e.g. resorbable screws) to hold it in place while the ligament heals into the bone (typically 6 months)
  6. The rest of the knee is then checked and any other damage, such as meniscal tears, are dealt with.
  7. Once completed, your plastic surgeon will close the wounds, often with a drain in place, and will apply a dressing.

At Okanagan Health Centre, we have a state-of-the-art facility and our surgeons are trained in advanced plastic surgery techniques to ensure that any risks of complications from your ACL reconstruction are reduced and recovery is as quick and safe as possible.

 

Rehabilitation Following an ACL Reconstruction

Post-operative rehab following an ACL reconstruction is a key part in the overall treatment of an ACL injury. In fact, surgical reconstruction without the appropriate rehabilitation will often be ineffective at restoring the strength and function of your knee.

Rehab regimes may vary, but the basic standard recovery period after this plastic reconstruction surgery involves:

 



 

Day 1 - Week 6

Patients may require one crutch post-op but only for a few days until the pain begins to settle. It is important to begin full weight bearing as soon as possible.

In addition, rehabilitation may include: 

  • Muscle strengthening
  • Training of reflexes
  • Closed chain exercises ONLY (i.e. foot always remains in contact with floor so no skipping, jumping, hopping or running)

Week 6 - Week 12

During these next 6 weeks, you can begin open chain exercises such as running but NO sports.

Up to 9 months

Your physiotherapist will begin intensive focus on muscle strengthening, training of reflexes and performance of sport-specific training exercises.

From 9 months

Careful return to competitive sport. It is always important to check with your plastic surgeon and physiotherapist before returning to intensive activity.

Call Today

To find out more about our wide range of plastic surgeries, including ACL reconstruction, contact our Kelowna private hospital at 250-868-9799 or toll free at 877-505-8895 or book a consultation with one of our plastic surgeons.


 

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