Stabilizers of the knee – part 2
When surgery is necessary
“In the case of this cruciate ligament tear, I recommend surgery”. This is medical advice that will initially cause anxiety and discomfort in many patients. But what are the reasons for surgery on the cruciate ligament? And what do you face during such a procedure? We would like to answer these questions herewith.
Whether a torn cruciate ligament should be repaired by surgery depends largely on the patient’s physical condition, lifestyle and age. Especially in young and/or athletically active people, an operation makes sense, because the lack of stabilization of the knee joint, a higher sliding movement occurs, which can thus lead to increased cartilage abrasion and wear of the meniscus. Often, cruciate ligament surgery cannot be performed until several weeks after diagnosis because it is necessary to ensure that the knee is fully mobile and free of inflammation.
In an operation known as cruciate ligament replacement surgery, the doctor usually works in a minimally invasive way through small incisions in the skin. Advantages of this technique include shorter surgical times and more inconspicuous scars. After treatment of any accompanying injuries to the meniscus or cartilage, the cruciate ligament is reconstructed using the patient’s own tendons, such as parts of the semitendinosus or gracillis tendon. Those tendons localized in the popliteal fossa are able to regenerate themselves after the procedure. Special screws and loops ensure adhesion to the bone. However, these dissolve after the ligament heals.
After the operation, the upper and lower leg muscles must be specifically rebuilt with physiotherapeutic help. After three months, sports activities that do not put too much stress on the knee joint can usually be started. However, sports such as skiing or ball sports that require a high degree of stability in the knee joint should not be resumed for at least six months. On average, one can speak of a fully functional knee joint again approximately one year after the operation.