Dr. Jonathan Mulford, Orthopaedic Surgeon, NSW Australia Total Knee Replacement, NSW Australia
Sports Knee Ligament Reconstruction, NSW Australia
Knee Arthroscopy, NSW Australia

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury

What is the ACL?

  • It is a strong ligament in the middle of the knee.
  • It stops the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) from moving too much on each other.

How do I know if my ACL is ruptured?

  • The History and Examination of the knee often make the diagnosis.
  • Investigations include an X-ray (may show avulsion fractures) and an MRI (often to look for associated injuries).
Normal ACL on MRIRuptured ACL on MRI
Normal ACL, NSW Australia Ruptured ACL, NSW Australia

Why reconstruct?

  • The ACL does not tend to heal itself. It is within the knee joint and the joint fluid prevents healing.
  • A new ligament must be reconstructed using another tendon or artificial ligament (LARS Ligament)
  • If you play pivoting sports or have symptoms of instability in daily life consider ACL reconstruction.

When should I have my ACL reconstruction ?

  • This is individualised to each patient.
  • In general - Early reconstruction (within 6-8 weeks) better than late reconstruction (greater 6 months).
  • In general
    • When swelling reduced.
    • When you knee motion is improving.
Normal ACL on ArthroscopyRuptured ACL
ACL Arthroscopy, NSW Australia ACL Reconstruction, NSW Australia

Which graft should I have?

The graft needs to be individualised for each patients specific goals and needs.

Specific Risks of surgery: are all relatively small

  • Infection
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Excessive bruising and swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Graft Failure 5-10%
  • Numbness
  • Nerve or vessel damage
  • Donor site problems
  • Hardware Problems
  • Residual Pain and swelling

  Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury

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Classic History
Do I need Surgery?
Benefits of Surgery?
Graft Types
Recovery Guidelines
© Dr Jonathan Mulford Orthopaedic Surgeon Knee Surgery Sports Knee injuries, Tasmania Australia Your Practice Online