ACL reconstruction is surgery to replace a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a major ligament in your knee. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect one bone to another. The ACL is one of two ligaments that cross the middle of the knee to connect your thighbone (femur) to your shinbone (tibia) and provide stability to your knee joint.
In ACL reconstruction, the torn ligament is removed and replaced with a piece of tendon from another part of your knee. This surgical procedure is performed arthroscopically through small incisions around the knee joint.
Who needs this treatment?
These injuries most commonly occur during sports that involve abrupt stops and changes in direction, causing jolting and stress to the knee. It’s particularly common in football.
A course of physiotherapy and rest may successfully treat an ACL injury for individuals who engage in moderate exercise and recreational activities, or play sports that put less stress on the knees.
ACL reconstruction is generally recommended if:
- an athlete wishes to continue in their sport, particularly if the sport involves jumping, cutting or pivoting
- more than one ligament or the meniscus in the knee is injured
- the knee is buckling during everyday activities.
What happens during this procedure?
During ACL reconstruction is performed under general anaesthetic. It is performed arthroscopically through small incisions around the knee joint, one to hold a thin, tube-like video camera (arthroscope) and others to allow surgical instruments access to the joint space.
Your surgeon will remove the damaged ligament, and then replace it with a segment of tendon. This replacement tissue is called a graft and it usually comes from your hamstring.
Your surgeon will drill sockets or holes into your thighbone and shinbone to accurately position and attach the graft with screws.
The graft will serve as a structure onto which new ligament tissue will grow.
How long will it take to recover?
The anaesthetic wears off rapidly and you will be awake very soon after the operation although you may feel drowsy for an hour or two. You will be able to go home the same or next day. A physiotherapist will want to see that you can bear some weight, and will give you advice on how to exercise your leg before you leave. Follow up physiotherapy in outpatients will be arranged.
A week or so after the operation your consultant will see you again to review your progress.
For the first 2 weeks you will need to wear a knee brace and rest, elevate and ice the knee often. You will need to use crutches for up to 6 weeks. Expect to have 4 – 6 weeks off work and driving. A full recovery and return to sport is expected after a 6 months.
At One Hatfield Hospital we perform many different knee surgeries, including knee arthroscopy, minimally invasive knee replacement and revision of existing knee replacements. At One Hatfield Hospital we can book you in to see a specialist Orthopaedic knee surgeon for an initial consultation, usually within 48 hours.
Children and Young People
We have specialist Orthopaedic Consultant Surgeons qualified and experienced in treating our younger patients. Please contact us to find out more.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your ACL Reconstruction treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance please do contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at either the One Ashford Hospital or One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Healthcare
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016 (Ashford) December 2017 (Hatfield)
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, Xray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience
Contact us and find out more
Contact our team to find out more information regarding private ACL Reconstruction or to book an initial consultation.
If you live in and around the Kent area and would like to visit our One Ashford Hospital please click here
If you are based in and around Hertfordshire and would like to visit the One Hatfield Hospital please click here.