Anterior Cruciate Ligament Repair (ACL)
What is Anterior cruciate ligament repair?
Anterior cruciate ligament repair – also known as ACL repair – is a surgical procedure to
repair a torn ligament in the knee using a tissue graft from another part of the body.
Who can benefit from an anterior cruciate ligament repair?
Generally, an anterior cruciate ligament is torn during a sporting activity - for example
twisting the knee. If you put certain pressure on the anterior cruciate ligament following the
rupture – twisting movements for example – this can cause the knee to collapse or ‘give
out’. Sometimes other parts of the knee may also be affected. People who have suffered a
torn ACL often complain that they have heard a ‘popping’ sound and have severe pain and
swelling. In this case, an anterior cruciate ligament repair may be the right course of
Anterior cruciate ligament repair can be performed using ‘open’ surgery, but generally most
surgeons will use the ‘arthroscopic’ technique. This type of ACL repair makes it easier to see
the procedure, uses smaller incisions and carries fewer risks. You will be placed under a
general or spinal anesthesia during surgery. Several small incisions will be made around the
knee and a saline solution inserted to clean and expand the area. An arthroscope – a tube
with a camera attached – is then pushed through one of the incisions, allowing your surgeon
to view the procedure on a TV screen. Holes are then drilled through the incisions and the
knee joint, and into the upper and lower leg bones. The tissue graft, which may be taken
from the patient or a deceased donor, is then pushed through the holes using special
instruments and positioned to replace the old ligament, before being secured at each end
using screws or staples. If any other damage has occurred, your surgeon can usually repair
this during the same operation. The incisions are then closed and wrapped in bandages.