There is a new option for total knee surgery that allows the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) to be preserved. Due to implant design, in most total knee replacements the surgeons have to remove the ACL even when it is healthy. The ACL sparing implant allows the ACL to be preserved so the knee feels and moves more like the original knee.
During traditional knee replacement surgery the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) cannot remain attached because the bone where it is attached must be removed. With ligament sparing total knee surgery, the new knee features a shape that protects this area of the bone and saves the ligaments so the knee feels and moves more like the original.
What is the ACL?
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament, most commonly known as the ACL, is crucial to knee movement and stability. It is located toward the front of the knee and is the most common ligament to be injured. The ACL is often stretched or torn during 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.
Why Is Saving The ACL Important?
The ACL provides joint stability making it easier after surgery for patient’s to return to sports or activities they enjoy such as dancing, gardening or golfing. Saving the ACL can help provide an increased range of motion, improved joint stability so the knee feels and moves more naturally.
Which Is Better-Traditional Total Knee Surgery Or ACL Preservation Knee Surgery?
ACL Preservation Knee Surgery is relatively new and little long-term research is available. Some evidence shows little or no difference while other reports indicate patients are very satisfied with the “feel” of the new knee. Patients who want to continue activities that require twisting, bending and sudden stops such as in tennis and skiing might prefer the ACL preservation surgery. When we meet to discuss your surgery, we will discuss the two options and which option might be best for you.
What can I expect after the surgery is over?
You’ll recover in our surgery suite until you are awake from the anesthesia and your vital signs are good. Our Care Team members will then move you to our Joint Replacement Center where you will stay until you are discharged.
How long will I stay in the hospital?
You will typically spend one or two days in the Joint Replacement Center and receive physical therapy to prepare you to return home. In some cases patients elect to go to a rehabilitation facility after surgery if they do not have help at home to assist in their recovery.
What happens when I go home?
Follow-up physical therapy usually is needed after you leave the hospital. Initially this will be done in your home or a rehabilitation facility if you choose to go there. You’ll come to our office in two weeks to check you wound and then at 6 weeks to see how you are doing. X-rays will be taken at each visit.
How long does recovery take?
Recovery is typically six weeks to three months in order to resume normal activity.