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Arthroscopic Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Arthroscopic anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction is surgery to replace your torn ACL. The ACL is a ligament in your knee that connects the tibia (shin bone) to the femur (thigh bone). Ligaments are strong tissues that connect bones together.


CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

You may develop an infection or bleed more than expected. You could have trouble breathing or develop blood clots. Even after surgery, the knee may not go back to the way it was before.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Before surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

  • Anesthesia: Your healthcare providers will help you decide which type of anesthesia is best for you.

    • Intravenous (IV) regional anesthesia: This is medicine put into an IV in the injured arm or leg. A pressure cuff is first put on your arm or leg. After the cuff is tightened, the medicine is put into the IV. The cuff keeps the medicine in the arm or leg so you will not have pain.

    • Regional anesthesia: Medicine is injected to numb the body area where the surgery or procedure will be done. You will remain awake during the surgery or procedure.

    • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.

During surgery:

  • A small incision will be made in your knee. Healthcare providers will use an arthroscope to look inside your knee joint by inserting it through the incision. Additional small incisions will be made in several places around your knee. Tools will be put into these incisions to reconstruct your injured ACL.

  • Another incision will be made if the graft (piece of tendon or muscle) will be taken from another part of your body. The graft will be pulled through a tunnel drilled in your tibia and femur and screws used to hold it. The incisions will be closed with stitches, staples, or tape. A drain may be placed temporarily.

After surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will watch you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You will then be taken to your room.

  • Activity: You may need to walk around the same day of surgery, or the day after. Movement will help prevent blood clots. You may also be given exercises to do in bed. Do not get out of bed on your own until your caregiver says you can. Talk to caregivers before you get up the first time. They may need to help you stand up safely. When you are able to get up on your own, sit or lie down right away if you feel weak or dizzy. Then press the call light button to let caregivers know you need help.

  • Electrical muscle stimulator (EMS) may be used to decrease your pain after surgery. Sticky pads are put on the skin around your knee. Electrical impulses go into one pad and energy comes out the other. This treatment may last 15 to 20 minutes one or more times a day. EMS makes your muscles contract which helps your muscles heal and get stronger.

  • Medicines may be given to prevent or fight a bacterial infection. You may also get medicine to prevent nausea or to reduce pain, swelling, or fever.

  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Arthroscopic Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction (Inpatient Care)

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