Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Background to ACL Reconstruction

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a frequently injured structure, the estimated incidence of which is 0.81 injuries per 1000 per year. The injury frequently occurs in the sportsman or woman, often as a result of a non-contact twisting action to the knee.

A rupture of the ligament can result in an unstable knee. This can frequently require surgery to stabilise it.

Surgery involves using a graft to reconstruct the damaged ligament. James and Rik use the hamstring graft from the patient as a first choice, but other frequently used grafts can be taken from the patient’s patella tendon or the quadriceps tendon. Manufactured synthetic grafts can also be used.

The procedure of ACL reconstruction is very dependent on the technical ability of the surgeon and the commitment of the individual to the rehabilitation of the knee after the surgery. The success of primary ACL reconstruction with present techniques is estimated to be between 75 and 93%.