The Basics of ACL Surgery and Recovery

The anterior cruciate ligament or ACL is a band in the knee that allows the movement of your legs and assists in keeping your knee stable. As such, an ACL injury may prevent walking and other leg movements. ACL injuries often happen when there is a sudden change of direction or a sudden stop.

Minor injuries such as a sprain are easy to recover from, but major injuries like tears may require surgery. If you’re in Provo, there are ACL doctors who can perform this kind of orthopedic surgery. If you need to undergo an ACL surgery, Dr. Michael J. Carlson, MD suggests learning more about the procedure before you schedule an appointment.

Surgery Proper

The procedure starts by placing the patient under general or regional anesthesia. The method is a short one and lasts anywhere between two and three hours. It is possible due to the help of knee arthroscopy, a treatment that uses a small, fiber-optic camera capable of creating small cuts in the knee.

The surgery’s purpose is to remove the injured tissue or tendon and replace it with healthier tissue. This is called a graft. Your surgeon may use a tendon from a different part of your body or use a donor tissue. Once the surgery is done, the patient can focus on recovery and rehabilitation.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

After the surgery, you may need to discuss options for physical therapy. This is recommended – in fact, needed – for an ACL injury because of the amount of movement that part of the knee requires. A treatment plan for physical therapy may include any of the following: pain management, gait training, swelling control, and strengthening exercises.

ACL injuries are grave, and surgery to that area of the knee requires a lengthy recovery. The average recovery time is anywhere from six to nine months, including regular therapy and rehabilitation. Remember to work closely with your doctors and therapist and stick to the treatment plan. This way, you can be on your way to full health again.