ACL reconstruction is usually performed through small incisions, one holds a thin, tube-like video camera (arthroscope) and another allows surgical instruments access to the joint space.
During the procedure
In the process of ACL reconstruction, the surgeon removes the damaged ligament rather than repairing it. The damaged ligament is the substituted with a segment of the tendon, tissue similar to a ligament that connects muscle to bone.
This substitute tissue is known as a graft. Your surgeon will use a piece of tendon from another part of your knee or from a deceased donor. He or she will drill sockets or tunnels into your thigh and shin bones to precisely position the graft, which is further secured to the bones with screws or other fixative devices.
The graft will serve as a scaffolding on which new ligament tissue can develop.
After the procedure
Once the anaesthesia wears off, you will be allowed to go home. However, before you go home, you will have to practice walking with crutches, and your surgeon may ask you to wear a knee brace or splint to help protect the graft.
Prior to leaving the hospital, you will receive instructions on when you can shower or bathe, when you can change the dressings on the wound and how you can manage post-surgery care.
To reduce swelling and pain immediately after surgery, practice the R.I.C.E. model of self-care at home:
apply Ice every two hours for 20 minutes,
Compress the knee by wrapping an elastic bandage or compression wrap
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