Surgery is typically performed after the injured knee regains full range of motion and proper muscle control, generally three to four weeks following the injury. During ACL surgery, the torn ligament is replaced (reconstructed) with a graft because the ligament is so damaged that a simple repair usually is not possible. Common grafts used to replace the torn ligament include the hamstring tendons, bone-patellar tendon-bone, quadriceps tendon or allografts from cadavers. The goals of the surgery are to reconstruct the torn ligament, repair any other damaged structures (including meniscus, other ligaments, or cartilage) and restore function and stability to the knee.
Dr. Chudik performs ACL surgery with the assistance of an arthroscope, a camera he inserts into small incisions and allows him to view the inside of the knee joint. The surgery usually is performed as an outpatient procedure (go home the same day) with general anesthesia and an adductor or femoral nerve block. The nerve block involves injecting numbing medicine around the nerves of the leg by the anesthesiologist just prior to the surgery. The torn ACL is replaced by a graft. Each graft type has its own risks and benefits. Prior to surgery, Dr. Chudik will discuss the type of graft that is best for you. During the surgery, the other ligaments, meniscus and cartilage of the knee are evaluated and treated appropriately. Arthroscopically, the graft is placed in the knee and secured to the surface of the bone with a novel technique.
Return to walking and regular daily activities once off crutches usually is about four to six weeks after surgery. Return to light running can occur at about three months post-op, and return to sports at four to six months post-op.