What is Ligament Repair?

The surgical repair of damaged or torn ligaments is ligament repair.

Effects of Ligament Repair

Ligament repair is effective in restoring the normal function of joints or adjacent tissues after ligament laceration.

Candidates for Ligament Repair

Ligament damage usually happens from sports injury. A torn ligament critically restricts knee movement, resulting in a person’s incapacity to pivot, turn or twist the leg. Those individuals who are not able to resume normal activities with medical treatments for a torn ligament may have a ligament repair surgery.

Your Consultation

The doctor will ask for a complete medical history and will conduct a physical examination to make sure that you are in good health before undertaking the procedure. You may also undergo blood tests or other diagnostic tests.

Inform the doctor if you have a history of bleeding disorders, or if you are taking any anti-coagulant (blood-thinning) medications, aspirin or other medications that influence blood clotting. You may need to discontinue taking these medications before the procedure.

The Ligament Repair Procedure

Ligament repairs can normally be completed in an outpatient setting, and hospital stays, if any, are brief. Local, regional or general anesthesia is administered. An incision is made over the injury and then the damaged or torn ends of the ligament are sewn together. A graft may be required if the injury is serious. Also, if necessary, the ligaments are reattached to the adjacent connective tissue. The area is examined for damage to nerves and blood vessels, and then the incision is closed. Most repairs are successful, permitting complete joint function.

Recovery

As a result of restricted mobility, it may be hard for a few weeks to continue with your normal daily activities. You may require someone to help you out at home. Driving is restrained until such time your doctor allows you to. Other activity restrictions may apply. Complete recovery from the surgery and rehabilitation may take quite a few months.

Risks

As with any other surgical procedure, some complications may arise. Various probable complications are bleeding, infection and blood clots in the legs or lungs. Some people also go through pain, limited range of motion in the knee joint and intermittent swelling in the knee following surgical ligament repair. Others have improved motion in the knee joint as the graft stretches over time.

FAQs

What are ligaments?

Ligaments are bands of tough, elastic connective tissue that enclose a joint to provide support and control the joint’s movement.

What is the anterior cruciate ligament?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is situated toward the front of the knee. It is the ligament that is frequently injured. Oftentimes, the ACL is stretched and/or torn in the course of a sudden twisting motion (when the feet stay planted one way, but the knees turn the other way). Skiing, basketball, and football are sports that have a higher risk of ACL injuries.

What is the posterior cruciate ligament?

The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is found near the back of the knee. It is another knee ligament that is commonly injured. Conversely, the PCL injury typically happens with abrupt, direct impact, such as in a car accident or during a football tackle.

What is the medial collateral ligament?

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is sited on the inner side of the knee. It is injured more frequently than the lateral collateral ligament (LCL), which is on the outer side of the knee. More often than not, stretch and tear injuries to the collateral ligaments are produce by a blow to the outer side of the knee, such as when playing hockey or football.

What is the purpose of a ligament repair?

Knee ligament repair is a treatment for a full tear of a knee ligament that results in unsteadiness in the knee. Persons with a torn knee ligament may not be capable to do normal activities that entail twisting or turning at the knee. The knee may buckle or “give-way”. If medical treatments are not adequate, the patient may resort to the more effective ligament repair surgery.

What should I do when I get home after surgery?

As soon as you are home, it is imperative to maintain the surgical area clean and dry. Your doctor will give you detailed bathing instructions. The stitches or surgical staples will be taken out during a follow-up office visit.

The doctor may recommended pain reliever to ease the soreness. Aspirin or specific other pain medications may augment the chance of bleeding. Be sure to take only suggested medications. Also, to help moderate swelling, you may be requested to raise your leg and apply an ice bag to the knee several times for the first few days. Your doctor will make an exercise program to aid you in recovering muscle strength, stability and range of motion.