Sprains and tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are some of the most common injuries sustained by athletes and active persons. Despite being a familiar term, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding ACL injuries and surgical techniques used to repair them.
Discover the answers to 4 of the most popular inquiries about ACL surgery with this helpful article from orthopedic surgeon Dr. Robin Fuchs.
Do All ACL Tears Require Surgery?
Not every patient with an ACL tear will be advised to undergo an ACL repair surgery. Such surgical procedures are usually ideal if the knee has suffered a combination of injuries, or if the injury is isolated.
Isolated ACL injuries in particular tend to do quite poorly with non-operative treatment. Research has shown that patients who tried to follow a non-operative plan would often inadvertently injure their knee more. This was typically related to damage of the meniscus.
How Long Will I Need to Stay in the Hospital Afterward?
Many orthopedic surgeons who utilize modern surgical technologies are able to perform an ACL repair using minimal incisions. This normally allows patients to return home from surgery in the very same day.
What Can I Do to Help My ACL Heal Faster After Surgery?
Crutches will need to be used by the patient, as they should avoid any possible strain to the affected knee. Your orthopedic surgeon may also advise you to wear a knee brace in order to provide additional stability to the joint.
Recovery will consist primarily of rest, applying ice to the area, wrapping the knee in a compression bandage, and elevating the leg to promote better blood flow.
Many patients will eventually attend physical therapy sessions to help transition back into regular activities that affect the surgical site. These appointments usually consist of exercises used to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee, and to improve its flexibility.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for ACL Surgery?
Characteristics that often define an excellent candidate for ACL surgery include:
- Adults who are active
- Adolescents with an ACL tear.
- Patients who have not seen satisfactory results from nonsurgical treatment methods.
- Individuals who experience daily struggles with their knee, such as having the joint give out.
Learn More About ACL Surgery
For answers to additional questions, or to speak with a sports medicine specialist about your ACL injury and whether or not you may be well suited for an ACL surgery, please contact Dr. Robin Fuchs today to schedule an appointment.