PreOp

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Arthroscopic Repair Surgery
Center: Orthopedic
Run Time: 5:02

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Your doctor has told you that you have a torn anterior cruciate ligament in your knee and has recommended arthroscopic surgery in order to repair it. But what does that actually mean?

The knee is one of the most complex and one of the most important joints in your body.

It is made up of bone, ligament and cartilage. Damage to any individual part can dramatically restrict the normal movement of the leg and can even interfere with the ability to walk.

Let's take a look at the way the knee joint is put together. The femur, or thigh bone, meets the fibula and tibia to create a flexible joint called the knee. Helping to stabilize the knee are the ligaments.

The ligaments in the knee are strong, flexible cords of tissue that hold the bones together. They maintain stability and allow the normal range of motion when you walk or run. The anterior cruciate ligament - or ACL -- guides the tibia, or shin bone. It helps keep your feet below your knees and your legs from buckling as you walk.

Twisting or bending the knee during sports or other strenuous activity can damage the ligament.

During an injury, patients often report feeling or even hearing a sudden "pop" in their knee at the exact moment when the ligament tears.

Other symptoms include swelling, restricted movement, pain and even the inability to stand on the affected leg.

To perform arthroscopic surgery your doctor will make a few small, button-hole sized incisions in the area around the knee. An arthroscope is a very small video camera that your doctor uses to see the inside of your knee and to guide the surgery.

Before your doctor can insert the arthroscope, the surgical team must inject a clear fluid into the joint. This fluid will inflate the interior space, and will help your doctor by providing an unobstructed view and enough room in which to work.

The actual surgical instruments will be inserted through one or more other openings small openings.

After verifying that anterior cruciate ligament -- or ACL -- has been severed, your doctor will begin the procedure by removing a piece of tissue from the front of the knee. This tissue, or graft, has bone on both ends and a section of tendon stretched between.

Next, the team drills a hole in the end of the thighbone.

And another in the top of the shin. These holes becomes the sockets for the bony ends of the tendon graft taken at the beginning of the procedure.

The ligament graft is then inserted into place.

When the procedure is complete, the team withdraws the instruments and the surgical fluid drains safely from the knee.

Following surgery, sterile dressings are applied. To aid in healing, your knee may be stabilized with a brace.
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