Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair represents the next frontier in ACL surgery. As opposed to ACL reconstruction, ACL repair aims to save the native ligament and does not involve harvesting a graft. Currently, only a small percentage of ACL tears are amenable to a primary repair. However, for those people who are candidates, recovery can be about twice as fast as a reconstruction.
The ACL is one of many ligaments that connects the bones of the knee (femur and tibia). The ACL can tear at several different places. It can tear right off of its insertion on the femur (called a femoral avulsion), it can tear just a few millimeters away from the femoral insertion or it can tear right in the middle of the ligament. When the ligament pulls off, or nearly off the femur, the ACL can potentially be repaired. Unfortunately, this does represent a minority of ACL tears. For those with this type of tear, it can mean a speedier recovery that preserves your native ACL.
While the type of ACL tear can be determined from MRI, the imaging study isn’t always correct, and it takes looking at the torn ligament surgically to know for sure if it can be repaired or not. Thus, ACL repair is ultimately a game time decision and it is usually most successful if done within the first several weeks after the initial injury.
Please call Lee Pace, MD for appointments or questions at (860) 837-9220.