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What is ACL Tear Surgery?

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is a major ligament which helps in moving the knee. When this ligament is partially or completely torn, the ACL Tear Surgery is done to repair the knee.

What causes a ACL Tear?

Most of the times, an ACL tear occurs while playing sports such as football, basketball, skiing etc in which you twist, turn, jump or stop suddenly.

Symptoms / when to call your doctor

When an ACL tear happens, you’ll hear a loud pop sound from your knee. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Mild to severe pain in the knee

  • Trouble in walking, putting pressure or bending the knee

  • Swelling

Why you should see a doctor?

If you experience symptoms of an ACL tear, you should visit the doctor immediately to understand the extent of knee damage. Ignoring the symptoms may lead to:

  • Severe pain

  • Further tear and weakening of the knee

  • Osteoarthritis

How is it diagnosed?

An ACL tear can be diagnosed by a simple physical examination. To understand the extent of damage, the doctor may recommend:

  • X ray

  • MRI scan

  • Arthroscopy- In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut in the knee. A pencil sized tool is inserted to examine the extent of damage on a screen.

Dietary Restrictions

Having a healthy diet after the ACL surgery is important. It will help the knee to heal faster.

Some of the foods that you can include in the diet are:

  • Lean proteins like egg, chicken, fish, lentils

  • Green leafy vegetables

  • Citrus fruits

Treatment for ACL Tear

The treatment for an ACL tear differs based on your fitness level and extent of damage of the knee.

For a simple tear, the doctor may recommend:

  • Knee Brace

  • Physiotherapy

  • Pain medication

However, if the ligament is badly torn, you will need to undergo surgery.

Types of treatments:

SpecificsArthroscopic SurgeryOpen Surgery
Incision2-3 Small incisionsLarge incision across the knee
Blood LossLessHigh
Recovery time2-3 weeks2-3 weeks
Hospital stay1 day2-3 days
InvasiveNoYes

Arthroscopic Surgery

An arthroscopic surgery also called; keyhole surgery is a simple under 2-hour surgery to repair an ACL tear in the knee.

Flow of the procedure:

  • Patient is given spinal or general anaesthesia for the procedure

  • Small incisions are made in the knee

  • A tiny camera is inserted into the incision

  • The camera footage is visible on a screen which guides the doctor to perform the surgery

  • Using the patient’s tissue or tissue from a bank, the doctor repairs the ligament

  • The incisions are taped and the patient is taken to the recovery room.

Recovery Time and Dietary Advice:

  • 1-day hospital stay with mild pain

  • Resume to normal routine after 2-3 weeks and active sports after 6-12 months

  • Using ice pack to relieve swelling and regular exercise to strengthen the knee are advised

  • Having a diet of lean proteins, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits is important for recovery

Risks involved in the treatment:

There are very less complications through this treatment. Some of the risks may be:

  • Numbness

  • Infection

  • Blood clots

  • Injury to nerves in the knee

  • Pain

Open Surgery

In this procedure, a large incision is made in the knee to repair the ligament.

Flow of the procedure:

  • Patient is given general anesthesia for the procedure

  • A large incision is made in the damaged knee

  • The ligament is repaired/replaced through the incision

  • The incision is sutured and the patient is taken to the recovery room

Recovery Time and Dietary Advice:

  • 2- 3 days hospital stay with mild pain

  • Resume to normal routine after 2-3 weeks and active sports after 6-12 months

  • Having a diet of lean proteins, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits is important for recovery

Risks involved in the treatment:

There are very less complications through this treatment. Some of the risks may be:

  • Allergic or adverse reaction to anesthesia or other drugs

  • Bleeding

  • Infection

  • Injury to nerves and blood vessels in and around the knee

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