Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
The anterior cruciate ligament is a band of thick fibrous tissue within the knee that connects the thighbone to your shinbone and helps in stabilising the knee. This ligament can get stretched or torn while playing sports like rugby, netball, skiing, basketball, gymnastics, and football.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction is a knee surgery, which involves replacing the torn ACL with a tendon from another part of the body or from a donor. The surgery is performed through small incisions around the knee joint (arthroscopic surgery), usually on an outpatient basis>
- You are an athlete and want to continue your sport
- You have more than one ligament in the knee is injured
- You have a job that requires heavy lifting or where an unstable knee hinders your work
- You have another damage to the knee
- You are young.
Preparation Before Procedure
If you have any swelling or pain around the injured knee, the surgery will be delayed. Before the surgery, you might undergo physical therapy to reduce pain, swelling, stiffness, to strengthen the surrounding muscles and to improve knee range of motion. . Individuals who undergo surgery with a swollen or stiff knee may not obtain the best results of the surgery.
- Stop smoking (if you smoke), as it can increase the risk of the chest or wound infection, thereby slowing the recovery process.
- Stop taking contraceptive pills, as they can increase the risk of blood clots.
- Do not shave your legs for up to six weeks before the operation, as scratches or cuts below the knee can increase the risk of infection after surgery.
- Stop eating anything six hours before the surgery and stop drinking water two hours before the operation.
- Inform your surgeon if you are taking any dietary supplements or medications. Blood-thinning medications like aspirin can increase the risk of bleeding. Therefore, you may be asked to stop taking those a week before the surgery.
Before the procedure, your anaesthetist and surgeon will talk to you about the procedure and whether you will be under general anaesthesia or an epidural (spinal anaesthesia). Based on the procedure, the doctor will give you a certain set of instructions to prepare for the surgery, which may vary to the guidelines given above. You can ask any questions regarding the surgery to the surgeon before going ahead with the operation.
- Adhere to all the post-operative instructions given by your surgeon and physiotherapist.
- Attend all the physical therapy sessions. Perform the exercises regularly even after the physiotherapy course is completed.
- Make sure you are eating nutritious and healthy food, including green leafy vegetables, dairy products, fresh citrus fruits and lean proteins like fish and chicken.
- Ensure you get enough sleep, as sleeping promotes faster repairing of the tissues.