What is ligament reconstruction surgery?

Ligament reconstruction uses a tissue graft to reconstruct torn ligaments in the knee. The purpose of this procedure is crucial to preserving the role of the ligament, which is a non-stretchable, durable fibre that is vital to holding bones together.

Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction is one of the most common types of ligament reconstruction, along with:

• posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
• lateral collateral ligament reconstruction
• medial collateral ligament reconstruction
• multi-ligament reconstruction and allograft.

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Why might I need ligament reconstruction?

Patients who require ligament reconstruction have typically suffered ligament injuries. These can include ligament injuries which are the result of accidents which happen in sports, in which the knee twists or overextends.

Common incidents of this nature include slowing down pace while running; taking a direct blow as a result of high impact contact, such as a rugby or football tackle; taking a sudden change in direction during high-intensity motion; and a failed landing from a jump.

Ligament injuries can often be characterised by the ‘buckling’ of the knee, and a popping sound. The knee can swell severely in the hours following, and a diagnosis can be confirmed through tests such as an arthroscopy, x-rays and MRI scans.

What can I expect from the procedure?

Prior to your surgery, you will have the opportunity to discuss the procedure with your doctor. You will speak to an anaesthetist about the best method of anaesthesia for your requirements before entering the operating room.

The surgical procedure for ligament reconstruction typically replaces the torn ligament with part of the hamstring tendon or patellar tendon, which is taken from the leg of the patient. The surgeon makes two small incisions; one through which the camera is inserted, to view the knee joint.

A sterile solution such as salt water is pumped into the knee area to improve visibility. The torn ligament is removed before a graft is prepared, pulled through predrilled holes and then fixed into place at the bone using screws.

Recovery time

Patients are not advised to put any weight on their knee until about two weeks after surgery, after which physical therapy designed to improve muscle strength and range of motion will begin. A knee brace is typically worn for a few weeks after the operation. You are usually able to jog after about ten weeks.

Mr Mann will offer expert advice and support from your first consultation, to your last outpatient appointment to ensure that you receive the best standards of care throughout.

If you want to know more about ligament reconstruction, or would like to make an enquiry, please fill out and submit the form below.