A torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the nightmare of many athletes. Those playing sports with lots of sudden stopping, starting and turning such as football, soccer and basketball are particularly vulnerable to this painful and serious injury. A damaged ACL is definitely going to mean missing part of the season, and it can mean a lifetime of difficulties. Depending on the specifics and severity of the injury, the patient may require a period or rehabilitation or surgery followed by rehabilitation. There is some good news for those facing ACL surgery. Top orthopedic surgeons have devised a less invasive option to the traditional open surgery known as arthroscopic surgery. Arthroscopic surgery has many advantages over open surgery, although it may not be suitable for every patient.
Rehabilitation is an essential part of recovering from any ACL injury, whether or not surgery is required. A physical therapist will explain and supervise specific exercises to help the knee regain strength and stability. It is critical to do these exercises exactly as instructed and to do as many as instructed – doing too many or too few can be harmful.
Advantages of Arthroscopic Surgery
Neither arthroscopic nor open surgery will return an injured ACL to its pre-injury state. When a serious injury strikes the knee, it is going to leave lasting damage. The goal of surgery, however, is to restore the joint to degree that it is functional and painful so that the patient can resume his or her activities and enjoy them.
In arthroscopic surgery, the surgeons makes tiny incisions in the knee and inserts a miniature camera and the surgical team can see exactly what they are doing on a monitor as they drill holes in the knee to anchor the graft that replaces the damaged ligament.It has three main advantages to open surgery.
1. It is less invasive. Arthroscopic surgery uses smaller incisions and thus affects less tissue. This means the body will heal faster.
2. It is safer. By opting for arthroscopic surgery, doctors are minimizing risks and protecting patients from the risk of some of the complications involved with open surgery.
3. It can be done at the same time as the diagnostic arthroscopy. Surgeons can examine the knee, as in an exploratory surgery, and repair the damage at the same time, which spares the patient a second procedure.
Arthroscopic surgery for an ACL injury can be done under regional anesthesia or under general anesthesia. The surgeon will determine which choice is the better option in the patient’s specific circumstances based on various factors. Arthroscopic ACL repair is often done under regional anesthesia as an outpatient procedure, which means the patient is not kept in the hospital overnight.
The move from an open to an arthroscopic procedure is a huge improvement for patients with ACL injuries. Top orthopedic surgeons are working constantly to improve the techniques they use and develop new and better procedures that speed recovery and reduce the risks of surgery for patients.