Surgery can be a nerve-wracking experience even for the bravest athlete. However, much of that fear comes from the unknown. Questions patients often ask themselves are: What is going to happen during surgery? Am I going to recover quickly? What is the experience going to feel like?
Injury to the ACL, or Anterior Cruciate Ligament, is common in athletes due to their routine movement. Injury is experienced when an athlete moves or lands wrong causing a sudden, twisting motion in the joint and thus a tear to the ligament. ACL arthroscopic surgery is then performed by an arthroscopic surgeon to determine the severity of the injury.
- What happens during ACL arthroscopic surgery?
Before an athlete’s damaged ACL can be fixed, it must first be determined what is causing the damage. ACL arthroscopic surgery is performed to determine the severity of the injury and to know what can be done to fix the ligament. During ACL arthroscopic surgery, the patient is sedated. The arthroscopic surgeon then makes a series of small incisions into the knee joint. The surgeon places a tiny camera into the incisions in order to take pictures. The pictures are then projected onto a screen in the operating room and the surgeon is able to determine the effects of the injury on the ligament.
- Why are multiple incisions made? Why not just one?
Multiple incisions are made in the knee joint in order to view the injury from various angles. Additionally, by inserting the tiny camera as well as fiber optics into the knee, the surgeon is able to evaluate the soft tissue surrounding the joint for any damage.
- Why can’t the surgeon perform an MRI?
Surgeons do often perform MRIs and x-rays on the patient’s injury. However, ACL arthroscopic surgery provides the operating surgeon with answers regarding the injury that an x-ray can’t provide such as the effects of the injury on any additional soft tissues neighboring the ACL.
- How long is the arthroscopic knee surgery recovery period?
While ACL surgery recovery may take longer, recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery typically only takes up to a single week with athletes being able to continue sports in as little as one to two months depending on their condition.
- What will I do during ACL arthroscopic surgery recovery?
Athletes recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery typically see a physical therapist to help them adjust to their injury and help it heal. The physical therapy business is a popular one with an employment growth projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to be 36% by 2022. Therefore, you should be able to locate a physical therapist near you once your surgery has been completed.
Any surgery can be nerve-wracking, but with arthroscopic knee surgery, you don’t have to worry. The recovery time is usually swift and the surgery itself is minimally invasive. Ask your arthroscopic knee surgeon for more information regarding your condition and surgery in order to ease your nerves.