Invasive surgery is never a fun experience, and it can be particularly worrisome for those who depend on their strong knees for work or play. The term “ACL reconstruction” used to strike fear in the hearts of athletes, but you should know that this procedure has seen tremendous advances in the past several years.
In 2016, an experienced orthopedic surgeon can get you back to work or playing your favorite sport in no time. While it’s still a serious procedure, sports medicine has advanced to the point where a torn ACL is no longer a “death sentence” for your mobility. In fact, ACL repair can make your knee even stronger than before your injury if performed by an experienced surgeon.
If you’re in need of ACL surgery, you should have a preliminary understanding of the procedure before visiting an orthopedic surgeon. Here’s a quick overview of what you can expect from your ACL reconstruction:
- What is ACL reconstruction? The number of knee replacements in the U.S. has nearly doubled in the past decade to 600,000 a year, and ACL reconstructions have also been on the rise, particularly among athletes. ACL surgery is a common procedure that typically occurs in high-impact situations like basketball or football. To complete the procedure, an orthopedic surgeon will rebuild the ACL mechanism using a tendon from a patient or cadaver.
- Potential risks. As is the case with any major surgery, there are risks associated with ACL reconstruction. However, you should know that these risks are extremely rare, and they can be limited if you find the best surgeon possible. Risks of ACL surgery include infection at the incision site, knee stiffness, and kneecap pain.
- Recovery. Your ACL surgery recovery will mainly consist of constant wound care and icing to reduce swelling. Your doctor will give you crutches so you can walk until your knee regains strength. Similar to artificial knees, a new ACL will last for at least 15 or 20 years before you might need surgery again. However, your knee will remain strong and healthy if you continue to visit your orthopedic surgeon on a regular basis following the procedure.
A torn ACL is one of the most severe sports injuries there is, but that does not mean that you will never be back on the field or court again. Find an experienced orthopedic surgeon for your ACL reconstruction and make sure to ask them any other questions about the procedure that you may have.