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ACL Reconstruction Surgery in Singapore

24th May 2021

ACL surgery is commonly performed to replace a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – a major ligament in the knee. It’s considered the gold standard in terms of treatment for ACL tears that are not expected to heal on their own. 

If you’re an athlete or are physically active in sports that involve sudden stops and changes in direction such as football, soccer, basketball, and volleyball, you may have heard about the severity of sustaining an ACL injury and how ACL surgery can help restore stability to the injured knee.

In this article, we discuss what the surgery is all about and how long it takes to recover from the surgery. On top of that, we discuss some of the things you should consider before getting the surgery and the benefits of ACL reconstruction surgery in Singapore.

What is ACL surgery?

ACL surgery is a procedure that doctors or orthopaedics use to replace a torn ligament in your knee. It typically involves reconstructing the ligament using a graft because most injured ACLs can’t be repaired due to the surrounding environment in the knee. 

During the surgery, the doctor removes your torn ACL and put a tendon in its place, which is known as a graft. The graft can be from your own body (autograft) or donated by someone else (allograft). Synthetic grafts may also be used depending on your medical condition and the doctor’s suggestion. 

Nevertheless, the following are the most common tissues used for ACL grafts which act as a scaffolding for new ligament tissue to grow on.

 The patellar tendon is known to heal quickly, making it a popular choice as autografts.

 Autografts using the hamstring tendon have become increasingly common as they have shown decreased post-operative knee pain and easier surgical recovery.

 Quadriceps autografts are often used on people who had prior ACL reconstruction.

Allografts using cadaver tendons are generally preferred by some surgeons as they don’t require the removal of the patient’s own tendon.

This surgical procedure is typically done using a minimally invasive, arthroscopic approach whereby special surgical tools and a video camera are inserted through small incisions in your knee joint. The surgeon will then drill sockets or tunnels into your shinbone and thighbone to position the graft accurately, which is then secured to your bones using screws or other devices.

After the surgery, you may be able to go home the same day. The doctor will also advise you to stay off your leg, get plenty of rest for your knee, and wear a brace to protect the joint.

How long does it take to recover from ACL surgery?

Generally, ACL surgery doesn’t require you to stay overnight in the hospital as you can go home the same day. The doctor will advise you to stay off your leg, get plenty of rest for your knee, and wear a brace to protect the joint. 

You’ll also learn how to change the dressing on your wound when to ice it or wrap your knee in a bandage to keep it compressed. You may have to use crutches to keep the pressure and weight of your body off your knee. 

Within a few days, you may begin your post-operative rehabilitation. This step is essential to maximise long-term outcomes, improve range of motion, increase muscle strength, and restore bodily balance. 

ACL rehabilitation recovery usually takes about 9 months. By then, you should be back to doing things that are part of your daily activities. For athletes, it can take up to 12 months or more before they can return to their sports, depending on their surgeon’s advice.

Reasons to consider ACL surgery

ACL surgery is generally recommended if:

 You’re a young individual or athlete who will be at significant risk of disability or further knee injury if normal knee mechanics are not restored.

 You experience multiple episodes of instability causing a significant problem in performing your daily activities, sports, or job-related activities.

 You’ve had non-surgical treatments like physical therapy but still experience knee instability and can’t perform your usual activities without assistive devices.

 There are injuries to other structures in your knee.

 You’re sufficiently healthy to undergo the procedure and willing to comply with a comprehensive post-operative rehabilitation programme.

Benefits of ACL surgery

The main goal of ACL surgery is to restore stability to the injured knee by replacing the torn ligament. For this reason, prominent athletes like the golfer Tiger Woods and the American National Football League player Tom Brady chose to undergo the surgery.

On top of that, you regain a range of motion, allowing you to continue engaging in sports and other physical activities. As long as the knee is cared for properly and subsequent traumatic injuries are avoided, the surgical benefits should be permanent. 

Therefore, it’s important to consider ACL surgery when your ligament is torn. Because once your ACL is torn, it’s very unlikely to repair itself. Over time, the ligament may become completely disabled. Even if it’s still intact, the torn ACL will sustain tissue damage and repair will provide poor functional results of the knee. 

At Spire Orthopaedic Centre, everyone should be cared for and healed holistically in comfort without having to travel to different locations to seek medical and surgical help and rehabilitation support.

 With a combined facility for collaboration between physicians, physiotherapists, and surgeons, you will experience a seamless service from diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation, that’s tailored just for you at our clinic.