Admission to Stellenbosch Medi-Clinic will take place on the day of surgery. You are encouraged to complete the admission form beforehand in order to expedite the admission process. The two ends of the torn ACL cannot be sutured together. This has been attempted in the past but was unsuccessful. In principal the surgeon must recreate the ACL for you using a graft of donor tissue. The operation is performed by means of arthroscopy through two small incisions over the front of the knee. A further incision will be necessary to harvest the graft to be use in the reconstruction of the ACL (see "GRAFT CHOICE").
The remainders of the torn ACL are removed. A tunnel is drilled in the tibia as well as the femur and the graft is passed through these tunnels leaving the middle portion in the knee joint in the position of the native ACL. The graft is fixed to the tibia and the femur using specific small prosthetic devices that will not need to be removed.
The operation time ranges from 60 to 100 minutes depending on the graft choice and the presence of associated injuries. You will stay overnight in the hospital. The physiotherapist will see you the next morning and take you through the first 4 weeks rehabilitation protocol. It is wise to familiarize yourself with the broad principals of the rehabilitation. The details of each phase will be clearly communicated to you by the therapist (physiotherapist initially and later biokineticist).
Please notify me if you have a tendency to keloid formation (hypertrophic scarring). Special dressings can be used post-operatively to decrease the risk of keloid formation following the ACL surgery.