The physicians with the Merrillville, Indiana Methodist Physician Group Orthopedic and Spine Center specialize in very specific orthopedic surgeries like arthroscopic anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair. That's a common injury seen among athletes, especially runners or basketball players who tend to stress their knee joints and those who compete in high-demand sports such as soccer or football. Specialists in this field must undergo additional training to learn how to operate the equipment used in arthroscopic ACL, so they can provide a surgical option that is less invasive to those in need of ACL repair.
The ACL or anterior cruciate ligament is one of the major ligaments in the knee joint, and one of two cruciate ligaments that support it. The anterior version sits anatomically along the medial wall of the lateral femoral condyle. The name refers to the location, which is anterior or in the front of the joint. Although the ACL is one of four major ligaments in the knee, it tends to bear the brunt of the restraining force making it prone to a sports injury.
A ligament is a piece of strong, fibrous connective tissue that holds different pieces of bone together. The ACL crosses over the knee at the front to connect the thighbone, or femur, with the joint.
Injury to the ACL refers to a tear in the ligament, and it's very common. The knee is a highly flexible joint. It not only bends like a hinge, but it also will hyperextend forcing it backward or pivots for rotation. The job of the ACL is to stabilize the knee and keep it from moving too far in an unusual direction without reducing the flexibility. Each time it overextends, it can weaken the ligament leading to tears or a complete severance from the joint.
ACL injuries often involve:
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery using a camera and minuscule tools. One of the specialists at Methodist Physician Group Orthopedic and Spine Center makes a small incision near the ACL and inserts a medical device into it. At the end of the device is a camera which transmits images to a video screen and small surgical instruments that allow the doctor to repair or remove the damaged tissue. It may take more than one incision to complete the procedure, but the cuts are small, making this option less damaging than more traditional ACL repair processes.
ACL repair often requires the use of a piece of tendon taken from another part of the knee or from a donor cadaver to replace the damage.