Complex Knee Ligament Repair & Reconstruction
Complex knee ligament repair & reconstruction is a surgical procedure used to treat a complex ligament injury. A complex ligament injury is defined as an injury to two or more of the four main ligament structures of the knee, namely:
- The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
- The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
- The medial collateral ligament (MCL).
- The lateral collateral ligament (LCL).
Complex ligament injuries are common in athletes who engage in competitive contact sports such as basketball, gymnastics, short-distance running (100 – 5000-meter sprints), and soccer.
Complex knee ligament repair & reconstruction surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that eliminates knee pain and restores the function of a knee joint. Athletes can regain mobility to return to their sport, and people who do not engage in sports can enjoy a pain-free, active lifestyle.
Who Needs Complex Knee Ligament Repair & Reconstruction?
Athletes are the primary candidate for complex knee ligament repair & reconstruction surgery. However, individuals who have suffered a complex ligament injury because of trauma are also eligible for the procedure.
Other considerations for eligibility include:
- The patient is an athlete who wishes to recover full movement of their joint to return to their sport.
- The patient wishes to regain full functionality of the joint to continue living an active lifestyle.
- Non-surgical treatments have failed to heal the ligaments. The injured ligaments are causing pain and disability.
- The stability of the knee has been compromised to a severe extent; the patient is unable to undertake everyday movements.
- The injuries can compromise the entire knee joint if not treated surgically.
Can Complex Injury Be Treated without Surgery?
The surgeon may recommend non-surgical treatments for a complex knee ligament injury under the following conditions:
- The stability of the knee has not been compromised.
- The person is able to perform everyday tasks without the knee-buckling under pressure.
- The injured ligaments show signs of improvement with non-surgical treatment.
- Symptoms are significantly reduced after non-surgical treatment.
- The patient does not care about the restrictions a multi-ligament injury will place on their lifestyle.
Knee Ligament Repair Without Surgery
Most of the time, complex ligament injuries require surgical treatment. However, complex ligament injuries are heterogeneous and vary across patients. Some of them may be treatable non-surgically. Non-surgical treatment involves the following:
- The surgeon may prescribe a Knee immobilization brace in combination with the RICE protocol.
- The surgeon may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and non-steroidal pain medication.
- The surgeon may prescribe a structured physical therapy regime to regain strength and movement of the knee joint.
- If the ligaments are healing, the surgeon may substitute the knee immobilization brace with a functional hinged brace.
- If NSAIDs are not helping, the surgeon may prescribe steroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain.
- The doctor may also prescribe stem cell injections to repair torn ligaments.
How is Complex Knee Ligament Repair & Reconstruction Performed?
A complex knee ligament repair surgery and complex knee ligament reconstruction surgery are different from each other. In a repair surgery, the surgeon repairs the existing ligament and reattaches it to the bone. On the other hand, in a knee ligament reconstruction surgery, the surgeon harvests a tendon graft from the patient or a cadaver and replaces it with the torn tendon.
Every complex knee ligament repair and reconstruction surgery is different; the type of procedure, duration, and techniques used depend on the type and extent of the injury. For instance, the surgical procedure is different for lateral collateral ligament reconstruction knee surgery as compared to medial-sided ligament reconstruction surgery.
Typically, the following steps can be expected from a reconstructive knee ligament surgery:
- The anesthesiologist administers anesthesia to the patient. Anesthesia can be local, regional, or general, depending on the preference of the surgeon and patient.
- The surgeon harvests the graft or grafts from the patient or a cadaver.
- The surgeon makes two small incisions in the front of the knee.
- The surgeon inserts an arthroscope (camera) through one incision to view the inside of the joint.
- The surgeon inserts tiny instruments from the other incision to remove the old tendon and replace the harvested graft.
- The surgeon drills holes in the bones to thread the new tendon and secures it with screws.
- The surgeon tests the graft and closes the incision with sutures.
- The wound is covered with a light bandage.
- The knee may be placed in a brace for a few weeks.
Complex Knee Ligament Repair Surgery NJ
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CMW is a renowned medical facility in New Jersey. The orthopedic department of CMW is acknowledged for its state-of-the-art technological modalities and the expertise of its board-certified surgeons.
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How Long Does It Take to Recover From Knee Ligament Surgery?
- After knee ligament reconstruction surgery, the surgeon may prescribe a rehabilitation program to ensure post-operative success and complete recovery. The rehabilitation program shall include structure physical therapy and pain management therapy.
- The patient may regain basic movement within three weeks of surgery. Complete recovery may be achieved after eight to twelve months.
What Are the Symptoms of a Torn Ligament in Your Knee?
- Frequent episodes of sudden and severe pain.
- Snap or pop sound during the injury.
- Swelling in the first 24 hours after the injury.
- Feeling of the loose knee joint.
- Inability to bear weight on the joint without pain.
Can Knee Ligaments Heal Without Surgery?
- Minor tears may heal with non-surgical treatments.
- Partial and full ACL tears cannot heal on their own without surgery.
- If you do not participate in sports or indulge in sessions of physical activities, physical therapy should be enough.
What Happens If ACL Injury Is Not Treated?
- If you do not seek ACL injury treatment, your injury in the knee can develop into chronic ACL deficiency.
- This will increase weakness and decrease knee control and movement, leading to further damage.