If the ligament is a complete tear or the patient is physically active, the surgeon may suggest a complete reconstruction of the ligament in order to prevent further damage and stabilize the knee. Arthroscopic surgery may also be performed. Surgery may involve reconstruction of the damaged ligament using a strip of tendon from the patient's knee (patellar tendon) or hamstring muscle. A cadaver graft or allograft can also be used. The surgeon may secure the new ligament with an implantable fixation device. A physical therapy program will usually follow the surgery in order to strengthen the muscles and restore full joint mobility.
Arthroscopy is a technique that allows surgeons to visualize, diagnose and treat a variety of joint problems. Rotator cuff tears, ligament tears, meniscal tears, damaged and loose cartilage and many other conditions can all be treated arthroscopically. Arthroscopy is performed using an arthroscope, a small optic instrument that enables a close look at the inside of a joint through a small skin incision.
Arthroscopic surgery began as a way to avoid making long skin incisions. While the long incisions allowed surgeons to fully visualize the joint, the subsequent disruption of tissue created long healing times, increased risk of infection and resulted in long scars.
Arthroscopic surgery allows small incisions by using an arthroscope, a small tube-like instrument that allows the surgeon to see inside the joint. The arthroscope is inserted into the joint through a short incision generally less than 1/4" to 1/2". Several small incisions may be made to see other parts of the joint or to insert instruments. The arthroscope uses a camera that projects the image of the joint onto a monitor. The surgeon is able to view the joint, and its structures, including cartilage, ligaments and surrounding tissue. Once the problem is identified, the surgeon may be able to use specially designed instruments and/or implantable fixation devices to repair conditions or remove any damaged bone or tissue.
Arthroscopic surgery rarely takes more than an hour or two for isolated injuries. Most patients who have arthroscopic surgery are discharged in the same day. The small skin incision wounds take several days to heal. Several follow-up appointments may be necessary. Typically, during the first of these, the physician removes the sutures, tape or stitches. The patient can usually resume daily activities within a few days, but the injury may require several weeks to months to fully recover.
Biomet is a manufacturer of orthopedic implants and does not practice medicine.
This information was prepared in conjunction with a licensed physician and is presented as general information only. Only an orthopedic surgeon can determine what treatment is appropriate. The life of any implant will depend on your weight, age, activity level, and other factors. For more information on risks, warnings, and possible adverse effects, see the Patient Risk Information section found within Biomet.com. Always ask your doctor if you have any questions regarding your particular condition or treatment options.