The goal of ligament reconstruction is to prevent instability and restore function of the torn ligament or ligaments. This preserves natural joint motion and maintains a stable knee.
During ligament reconstruction a torn ligament is replaced by a tissue graft. This graft can be obtained from another part of the patient’s body (autograft), most commonly the hamstring, or a cadaver tissue graft (allograft) may be used instead. Your surgeon will discuss with you the pros and cons of using an autograft vs allograft for your specific injury, and you will decide together which option best suits your needs.
Ligament reconstruction can be done arthroscopically. As such, small incisions called portals are made into the knee where your surgeon will insert a camera and small instruments used to repair your knee. Bone tunnels are drilled into the tibia and femur to place the graft in its appropriate anatomical position. The graft is fed through these tunnels and anchored into position. Tension and range of motion are tested and incisions are sutured. The graft acts as scaffolding for new ligament regrowth.
Watch the ACL Reconstruction Video
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction – Most ACL tears cannot be sutured (stitched) back together and require replacement of the torn ligament with a tissue graft. It is common to see ACL injuries combined damage to the menisci. The most common meniscus injuries are easily treated during the same surgical procedure as your ACL reconstruction.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Reconstruction – PCL tears tend to be partial tears with the potential to heal on their own. A complete tear to the PCL usually requires surgical reconstruction, much like that of an ACL. During an arthroscopic surgery the torn ligament is replaced by a tissue graft.
Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Repair – The majority of MCL injuries do not require surgery, however surgery may be required if the MCL is severely torn. A small incision allows your surgeon to stitch the two ends of a torn MCL together. If the tear occurs closer to the femur or tibia, it will be reattached to the bone accordingly.
Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Repair – Most isolated LCL injuries can be treated without surgery. If your LCL is torn in such a way that it cannot heal or is associated with another ligament injury, surgery may be required to repair it. Like repair of the MCL a small incision will allow your surgeon to stitch the two ends of a torn LCL together. If the tear occurs closer to the bone, the LCL will be reattached the bone accordingly.