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Knee Ligament Reconstruction

Ligaments are sturdy bands of tissue that surround and strengthen a joint. Damage to the ligament causes the knee joint to become unstable. Ligament injuries of this kind typically occur as a result of a sport. A person’s knee movement is severely limited due to a tear in the ligament. Often surgery that involves reconstructing the ligament is required to repair a torn ligament. Due to constraints in the knee’s movement, pivoting and running may be hard to do. Therefore, surgery is initiated to repair a tear in the ligament and reconstruct it if possible.

Four primary knee ligaments include:

  • The anterior cruciate ligament, commonly known as ACL, is situated in the front of the knee, controlling the rotation of the knee.
  • The posterior cruciate ligament is found in the middle of the knee, controlling the motion of the shinbone, moving backwards.
  • The medial collateral ligament provides stability to the inside of the knee.
  • The lateral collateral ligament stabilises the outer part of the knee.

The ACL is a ligament most prone to injury. Often, the ACL can tear when engaging in high-performance sports (netball, rugby and skiing). The torn ACL is replaced with a healthy tendon from a donor or the patient's hamstring or kneecap during reconstructive surgery.

Knee ligament reconstruction is performed to repair damaged ligaments that have become unstable. One of the most common ligaments to be injured is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), located at the front of the knee as it is easily stretched or torn. The posterior cruciate ligament, located at the back of the knee, is also prone to injury during sports or direct impact in an accident. These injuries can be repaired with a surgical procedure, in which the torn ligament is replaced with a piece of healthy tissue taken from another part of the leg, such as the kneecap or hamstring. The healthy tissue is grafted into position and helps to hold the knee joint in place.

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FAQ

Yes, ACL reconstruction is considered a major procedure. Specific recovery and rehabilitation will typically take a few months.

Yes, screws attach the graft to the bone. Typically, metal buttons are favoured. The graft, also known as a replacement ligament, connects to tunnels previously made in the femur and tibia. I mostly used small suspension plates called buttons to suspend the ligament.

Bioabsorbable screws are typically used nowadays in orthopaedic surgery, particularly for graft fixation surgery. Bioabsorbable screws are made of Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), which is absorbed back into the body. Internal braces in the form of braided non-absorbable materials are also used.

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