The Science Behind ACL Repair

Your anterior cruciate ligament, better known as your ACL, joins your thigh bone (femur) with your shin bone (tibia) and fortifies your entire knee joint, so it’s critically important to your mobility. That said, torn ACLs are some of the most common injuries Dr. Struan Coleman sees at this practice.

Between dedicated athletes and patients who injure themselves while performing everyday movements, most ACL injuries and tears are the result of stopping suddenly while running, changing direction abruptly, awkwardly landing from a jump, or simply running into something. 

The injury is often accompanied by an audible pop and followed up with significant swelling and pain. Fortunately, Dr. Coleman has years of experience caring for professional athletes and has mastered the complex art of ACL repair. 

High-tech ACL repair option is sophisticated, safe 

ACL reconstruction surgery is especially safe when performed by Dr. Coleman, because he favors arthroscopic surgery. This method is superior to traditional open surgery, as miniature surgical tools and a camera anchored to a thin, bendable tube are inserted into your knee through very small incisions.

The real-time video feed that Dr. Coleman watches comes from the tiny camera that acts as his surgical eyes and guides him as he performs your surgery. 

Compared to conventional, more invasive surgery, arthroscopic procedures offer multiple benefits:

Arthroscopic ACL surgery: Goal and mechanics 

If other more conservative treatments haven’t worked, Dr. Coleman advises arthroscopic ACL repair surgery so you can regain stability and full range of motion, enabling you to return to your active life. 

When repairing your injured ACL, Dr. Coleman’s goal is to swap out your damaged or torn knee ligament with a new, intact tendon. There are two ways to do this. He either harvests a tendon from another location in your body (such as your thigh, hamstring, or knee) during the procedure, or he acquires the tendon from a deceased donor. 

This process is called a graft, and in order to place it correctly in your knee, Dr. Coleman creates a pair of small tunnels using a drill on your bones. He drills one tunnel into the bone that’s above your knee, and the other one in the bone below it. 

Next he inserts screws into the tunnels and carefully places the graft, which will act as the foundation that the new ligament will grow onto during the months following your surgery. 

You receive general anesthesia before the surgery, which takes, on average, between 30 and 60 minutes to complete, and you typically return home the same day.

Post-surgical care and recovery

Dr. Coleman advises you on aftercare, which usually involves the RICE treatment (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) to help with swelling, taking some pain medication, engaging in physical therapy, and gradually returning to putting weight on your knee. 

The healing process takes up to several months, but it depends on factors like injury severity, age, and your overall health. 

Learn more about ACL arthroscopic surgical repair

You may be a candidate for arthroscopic surgery to mend your torn ACL. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Coleman by calling the office closest to you or using our online booking tool

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