What is an ACL reconstruction?
Why should the ACL be reconstructed?
Are you a candidate for ACL reconstruction?
What is involved in an ACL reconstruction?
Re-creating the anatomy of the original ACL involves first removing the damaged ACL and next drilling tunnels in the both the tibia and the femur. These tunnels need to be in the exact orientation of the natural ACL, in order to ensure that the newly placed graft will act in the same manner as the original ACL. The tunnels serve to place the ACL graft in the proper orientation and as a point of fixation of the graft to bone.
Initially, after a new ACL graft has been placed in the correct position, i.e., spanning the inside of the knee joint and inside tunnels on both sides of the knee joint, the graft must be fixed in position. This is typically accomplished with screws or some other sturdy device. Regardless of the type of fixation used, the device plays only a temporary role until the graft has healed to the insides of the tunnels. Once this is accomplished, the initial fixation device no longer serves a purpose, because the ultimate strength comes from the soft tissue graft healing to the surrounding bone tunnels. This process takes several months to be complete.