Knee Ligament Reconstruction
The knee is the most complex joint in the body and is formed by the articulation between the thigh bone (femur) and the shinbone (tibia). A knee cap is present over the front of the joint to provide extra protection. These bones are held together by four strong rope like structures called ligaments. Two collateral ligaments are present on either side of the knee and control the sideway movements of the knee. Two other important ligaments are the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments, ACL and PCL respectively, which are present in the center of the knee joint and cross each other to form an “X”. The cruciate ligaments control the back and forth movement of the knee and rotational stability.
Knee ligament injuries are common in athletes involved in sports such as soccer, football, basketball. Knee ligament injuries are graded based on the severity of injury. In grade I the ligament is mildly damaged and slightly stretched, but the knee joint is stable. In grade II there is a partial tear of the ligament. In grade III there is a complete tear of the ligament and the ligament is divided into two halves making the knee joint unstable. The surgical treatment of the completely torn ligament involves reconstruction of the torn ligament using a tissue graft taken from another part of the body, or from a donor. The damaged ligament is replaced by the graft and fixed to the femur and tibia using screws or other fixation devices. Gradually, over a period of months, the graft heals.
Arthroscopy is widely utilized in reconstructive surgery of the ligaments of the knee. This allows for more minimally invasive techniques while providing improved visualization of the structures in the joint.
Following arthroscopic reconstruction of the injured ligament most athletes can return to their high-level sport after a complete period of rehabilitation.