4 Benefits of Arthroscopic Surgery for Your ACL Reconstruction

4 Benefits of Arthroscopic Surgery for Your ACL Reconstruction

What do you think of when you picture someone who has suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)? Probably an NBA player at the top of their game or the star of your child’s high school soccer team. 

While ACL injuries are common for high-level athletes, you don’t have to be an athletic superstar to be one of the 100,000 to 200,000 Americans who tear their ACL every year. In fact, as older adults are remaining active longer throughout their lives, the rate of ACL tears in adults over 40 is increasing. 

When an ACL tear needs surgery, you may not require the intense open surgery you see on medical dramas. Arthroscopic surgery, a noninvasive surgical technique, can help improve your surgical outcomes and speed recovery, getting you back in action faster. 

Have you torn your ACL — or think you may have? If so, come see our team at Steven E. Nolan, MD. Dr. Nolan is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience and has received numerous top-surgeon awards during his career. Here, he discusses ACL tear basics, symptoms of an ACL tear, and the benefits of arthroscopy. 

ACL basics 

The ACL is a strong band of tissue that connects your thigh bone to your shin bone. It sits behind and a little bit above the top of the shin bone, in the middle of the kneecap area. When healthy, the ACL gives your knee stability by holding together two of the major knee bones. When your ACL is damaged, you may have trouble putting pressure on your knee, walking, or playing sports.

ACL tears

ACL tears, unlike many other sports injuries, often happen without contact. ACL injuries occur when a great amount of force is put on the joint. This can occur with contact, like when a football lineman tackles another player at their knees. Noncontact ACL injuries can happen during any of the following:

ACL injuries are common in sports that require quick changes of direction and a lot of jumping, like basketball, soccer, volleyball, and tennis. 

Symptoms

ACL tears are associated with a loud “pop” noise that happens at the time of the injury. The injured person and those around them might hear the noise. Other symptoms include:

If you think you have torn your ACL, seek prompt medical attention and make an appointment to see Dr. Nolan. 

Arthroscopy

While some ACL injuries may require traditional open surgery, Dr. Nolan performs ACL reconstruction by way of knee arthroscopy in most cases. 

Arthroscopy treats injuries with the help of a tiny camera that’s inserted into an incision the size of a button hole. After getting a good view of the injury, Dr. Nolan is then able to make other small cuts in the appropriate areas to insert thin surgical instruments and repair the damage.

Benefits

One of the biggest benefits of arthroscopy is that it's done on an outpatient basis — you’ll be able to go home the day of the procedure instead of spending the night in a hospital. 

The small incisions required by arthroscopy also mean less trauma than an open surgery. You should experience less pain and stiffness after the surgery, and your recovery should be faster as well. 

Arthroscopy also involves less pain, since the incisions are smaller. Many patients do not need pain medication after the procedure or are able to use over-the-counter painkillers to adequately treat their discomfort. Swelling is common, but it’s minor enough that periodic icing reduces it. 

Arthroscopy also helps Dr. Nolan be as precise as possible when performing surgery. He is able to easily see and operate on the impacted joint. The camera also lets him perform diagnostic arthroscopy at the same time — checking that other joints in the area, like the MCL, are in good shape. 

To learn more about ACL tears and whether knee arthroscopy is right for you, request an appointment online or over the phone with Steven E. Nolan, MD, today.

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