The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the four major ligaments in the knee. The ACL is in the middle of the knee and connects the shinbone to the thighbone, keeping these two bones vertically aligned. ACL injuries often happen while playing basketball, football, soccer, and skiing. They are frequently caused by blunt force to the knee, twisting while changing directions, landing hard, or overextending the knee. For injured athletes who want to get back to playing sports, expert ACL reconstruction is vital.
Dr. Shani performs ACL reconstruction surgery using an arthroscopic technique with small incisions around the knee joint, making this surgery a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. A small camera is used to examine the ACL injury and surrounding tissue, and Dr. Shani carefully removes the torn ACL. Dr. Shani then drills holes into the upper and lower leg bones to anchor the newly reconstructed ACL into the correct anatomic position. Screws or buttons are then used to anchor the new ACL in place until the new ligament fuses to the bone.
ACL surgery requires the transplantation of new tissue to replace the torn ACL. Dr. Shani will discuss two transplant options with patients – allograft (donated tissue) or autograft (tissue from the patient). There are three main sources of autograft tissue. These include obtaining tissue from either a portion of the patient’s patellar, quadriceps or hamstring tendons. In each option, excellent results are achievable to return to a high level of play and activity. The best choice will be individualized to each patient after discussion with Dr. Shani.
Dr. Shani performs Anatomical ACL reconstruction, an innovative technique that exactly replicates how the original ACL functioned. This increases the likelihood of patients returning to pre-injury sporting levels. In this type of procedure the grafted ACL is placed in the exact position of the injured ACL, reducing chances of injury in the future. Anatomical ACL is crucial for patients who have previously undergone ACL reconstruction or are at high risk for ACL injury.
Rehabilitation for ACL reconstruction usually takes six months. Working with Dr. Shani and a physical therapist, patients undergo individualized rehabilitation programs to ensure a complete recovery. After three months, most patients may return to light physical activities such as jogging and biking, but should avoid all pivoting and tackling sports. From three to six months, patients begin sports specific types of exercises to get ready to return to sports. After about six to eights months of physical therapy and consultations with Dr. Shani, most patients return to pre-injury sporting activities.