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An overview of ACL knee surgery

The most common type of knee surgery after an ACL tear is a "reconstruction" of the ligament. This means that the torn ligament is removed and replaced with a new one. The techniques for ACL reconstruction have changed a great deal in the past 10 years. Consequently, ACL knee surgery is now improved and the rehabilitation generally easier. Most people often want to know why the ligament can't be repaired by sewing the torn ends back together. This idea was tried in the past, and in general, it proved very difficult, if not impossible, to get the ligament to heal with enough strength and tension that it functioned normally. Today, a part of a tendon usually from somewhere else around your knee is removed and put in the place of the torn ACL. Because the ACL is like a rope that is made from lots of little individual fibers, and it is impossible to get the fibers to grow back together so that the ligament is strong enough to function normally. However, in some very special situations a torn ACL may heal on its own without being replaced. This happens very rarely, and only when the ACL is partially torn or has pulled cleanly away from the bone.


This video shows how the ACL is replaced with a part of the patellar tendon.


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