What Is Knee Ligament Reconstruction?
When the bands of elastic connective tissue (ligaments) in your knee become damaged, it can leave the knee feeling unstable. The ligaments give your knee support and limit its movement, when they become damaged, they can not do their job as well. Typically, this type of injury occurs while playing sport and can restrict movement. This means that you won’t be able to twist, turn or pivot your leg like normal. Surgery is an option to treat this type of injury; usually, it’s used as a last resort after other medical treatments have not been effective.
The ligaments in your body are connective tissues, the ones in your knee connect your femur to the tibia. There are four ligaments in your knee, which are:
The ACL or Anterior Cruciate Ligament – located in the centre of your knee, this controls the forward movement and rotation of the tibia.
The PCL or Posterior Cruciate Ligament – once again, located in the centre of the knee, this ligament controls the backward movements of the tibia. The LCL or Lateral Collateral Ligament – gives stability to the outer of the knee, The MCL or Medial Collateral Ligament – gives stability to the inner knee
Why do I need knee ligament reconstruction?
The ACL is the most common knee ligament injured. It is often stretched or torn during a twisting motion (the feet stay planted but the knee turns the opposite way). Basketball, skiing and football are sports which have a high risk of ACL injuries. The MCL and PCL ligaments are also quite prone to injury.
After early medical treatment of ligament injuries like resting, icing, elevation and pain relievers, surgery may be offered if your symptoms have not improved. The reconstruction surgery to correct a torn ligament involves replacing the torn ligament with a healthy piece of tendon. This can be taken from the hamstring or the kneecap, and it is then grafted into place. The tendon graft can come from you or an organ donor.
What are the risks of knee ligament reconstruction?
Just like any surgical procedure, some complications can occur. Some possible complications from knee ligament reconstruction surgery can include but are not limited to:
Infection, Bleeding, Blood clots in the lungs or legs
Some problems that come directly from this type of surgery can limit the range of motion in your knee; you can also experience pain and swelling in the knee. Others can experience a decrease in range of movement over time as the graft stretches.
There can be other risks associated with this operation if you have any other medical or health conditions. These should be discussed before your operation.