Knee ligament surgery is recommended when there is an extensive damage to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Know more on recovery for this surgery in this article.
Knee ligament injuries are most common in athletes and sports people. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a ligament, which mostly gets damaged during such injuries. Apart from that, ligament tear may occur in the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) or a medial collateral ligament (MCL). A reconstructive surgery to repair the damage to the ligament is usually recommended as a treatment option for torn ACL. Every year, about 2,00,000 knee ligament surgeries are performed in the US. The purpose of this surgery is to reconstruct the damaged ACL and thus, improve the functioning of knee.
Knee Ligament Surgery
Knee ligament surgery is an extensive one, involving fair amount of complications. However, the advantages of this surgery far outweigh the disadvantages. The surgery is usually less invasive as it is performed using a keyhole approach. During the surgery, two to three incisions are made on the knee, from where instruments and a camera are inserted. A camera allows a surgeon to monitor the structures inside the knee in a better way. The surgeon cuts the torn or ripped parts of the ligament and separates them. The knee is then prepared for a graft, which acts as a replacement for the lost ligament. The graft can be taken from some other part of knee or from another donor. In some cases, a synthetic graft can also be used.
Knee Ligament Surgery Recovery
As a keyhole approach is used during the surgery, the recovery time is drastically shortened. However, it may take you several months to resume an intense workout routine. During the first few days post surgery, you are likely to experience lot of swelling and stiffness in the knee. However, this is perfectly normal and should be expected with any kind of knee surgery. You need to take certain precautions until the graft fully attaches itself to the bone. As this does not happen any sooner than 6 weeks, you will need to avoid all forms of strenuous exercises during this time. After about two weeks, you may start performing some physiotherapy exercises such as range of motion (ROM) or continuous passive motion (CPM), in order to regain strength and flexibility in the knee. One can also perform isometric exercises, which do not put any strain on the knee.
After the graft fuses with the bone, you may resume an active lifestyle. However, one must still avoid putting a lot of strain on the knee. Simple day-to-day activities such as walking are fine. After about three months, you may resume light exercises such as jogging. But, make sure you do not experience pain or discomfort while jogging. If you do, see your surgeon immediately. Strenuous exercises such as running and jumping can only be resumed after four to five months. The knee usually regains its complete strength and flexibility in a span of six to eight months.
One must note that the extent of torn ligament in the knee affects recovery time. It may differ for each patient, depending upon the surgery and overall health. Thus, your recovery timeline may vary from the one mentioned above. Some people may take up to one year to completely regain the strength and flexibility of their ligament. Hence, you must assess your individual condition and only then verify your progress. During this time, it is very important to follow your surgeon’s advice to the word. Take medications on time, apply ice packs regularly and do everything you can, to speed up the recovery process. Another important thing is that, the physiotherapy exercises mentioned above, must be done under proper guidance of a physiotherapist only. You may also have to get a consent from your surgeon for performing exercises.
Knee ligament surgery is usually safe and promises improved knee function. The recurrence of tear or damage is less, if you take proper care of your knee. Strictly following the recovery plan devised by your surgeon for you, ensures a speedy recovery and better knee performance.