ACL surgery involves the reconstruction and repair of the ACL, i.e., the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. ACL is an essential, yet soft tissue which connects the femur bone to the tibia. Among athletes, minor injury or torn ACL is very common. Whereas in case of complete tearing of ACL, surgeons treat the issue through surgical ACL reconstruction. It is believed that people with ACL also tend to develop osteoarthritis later on in their lives.
Why the need for ACL Surgery?
What determines if you need ACL surgery or not, it depends upon:
- Your lifestyle
- Severity of the ACL tear
Because in case of a completely torn ACL, it can heal without the involvement of any surgical procedure. The medical history of some patients has shown that people with partial or mild injury to the ACL were able to heal on their own without having to undergo any surgical procedure.
Complete or Partial relief to ACL:
So how does the medical doctor decide if you require complete or partial relief to ACL? It is decided by performing two main tests which are manual:
- Pivot Shift Test: In this test, the patient is asked to lie down on the backside. The doctor life the leg and apply rotational pressure on the knee to check the movement. In case there is no shift in the bone, it means the tests are negative.
- Lachman test: The second test involves pulling shin bone away from the thigh bone by a medical doctor. If the bone doesn’t move or even move a bit, it means the ACL is torn apart but yes it is still intact
In case of partial tearing of the ACL, a surgical procedure can be delayed by the doctor so natural healing of the ligament could be analysed.
How the lifestyle of Patients define the need for ACL surgery?
All those people who actively participate in sports activities with partial tearing of ACL, they need surgical procedure so to return to their routine matters. On the other hand, people who are older and do not actively participate in sports activities normally let their ligament heal on their own, without the involvement of any surgical procedure.
If with a completely torn ACL, the patient returns to performing normal activities then knee instability is possible. It means the meniscus will also be damaged. The meniscus is mainly pad in the cartilage area, which provides cushiony support to meet the joints at the knee.
There are two meniscuses in each knee. One is the lateral meniscus, which is present on the outer side, the second meniscus is present on the inner side.
If the meniscus is damaged, it means the patient has a fair chance of developing osteoarthritis later in life.
When to go for ACL reconstruction surgery?
The physician checks the condition of the knee and ligament and then suggest when the surgical procedure is needed:
- Depending upon the physical condition of the knee
- Depend upon the level of pain a patient can bear
- The level and intensity of the injuries and which needs to be addressed
- The overall motion of the patient and control of muscles in bending and twisting
It is not necessary to get the done surgical procedure depending on your condition. You need to visit an orthopaedic surgeon and get their recommendations before making a final decision in this regard.