One of the most common knee injuries is a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. ACL injuries affect more than 200,000 people per year, with 100,000 of those repaired surgically. They are generally associated with activities such as basketball, football and soccer, sports that require quick, directional changes and stress on the knee.
If you suspect that you’ve torn your ACL because of swelling, pain, loss of motion, etc., and may require surgery to repair it, talk to your doctor about an MRI scan. Once an orthopedist has determined the extent of your knee injury, he or she can suggest the best course of treatment.
If surgery is required to repair a torn ACL, then the arthroscopic method will most likely be used rather than a full open knee procedure. An orthopedic surgeon makes several small incisions into the knee, inserts an arthroscope and repairs the ligament using small surgical tools.
Arthroscopic surgery is minimally invasive, with fewer incisions and a faster recovery rate. Because of this technique, most arthroscopic patients can go home the day of the surgery and will experience fewer post-op issues like infection or effects of prolonged anesthesia.
Rehabilitation after ACL surgery varies from person to person depending on the extent of the injury and response to surgery. In some cases, the physician may send the patient home with a list of exercises, pain medication and an appointment for a follow-up visit in the near future. In other instances, physical therapy is required to properly strengthen the knee and surrounding muscles, especially if the patient is an athlete looking to return to competing at a high level. In any event, be sure to discuss the recovery plan in detail with your doctor.
Longstreet Clinic Orthopedics employs physicians, nurses practitioners and physician assistants qualified to assess the extent of your knee injury and prescribe the best course of action. Our specialists are sports medicine experts and serve as team physicians for several schools and athletic organizations. Please call us at 678-207-4500. Or contact us online!