What is Knee Reconstruction?
Knee reconstruction is performed typically for a ruptured ligament, most often the anterior cruciate (ACL). The ACL can be ruptured during an accident or playing sport. The remains of the ACL are shaved away and a graft is used in it’s place.
Is Knee Reconstruction the Same as Knee Replacement?
No. A knee replacement is performed for arthritis. Knee replacement involves removing the end of the bones and inserting a prosthesis.
When is Knee Reconstruction Recommended?
Knee reconstruction is recommended for a ruptured ligament which has left your knee unstable. If, despite physiotherapy, your knee continues to give way and is interfering with your ability to perform your regular activities such as work or sport ligament reconstruction is likely to be beneficial.
What Does the Process Involve?
You will come to hospital on the day of surgery. A general anaesthetic and possibly nerve blocks are performed. The operation is “keyhole surgery” however a small incision is required to harvest hamstring tendons from your inner thigh. The hamstrings are passed through drill holes into your knee and fixed at either end. Following surgery you will stay overnight in hospital and be seen by our physiotherapist. You will go home with crutches to help with your mobility.
How Long Does it Take to Recover?
Recovery is a gradual process. You may stop using the crutches when you are confident to go without them. Your activities will gradually increase as guided by your physiotherapist. If your right knee has been reconstructed it may be 6 weeks until your are safe to drive. If your left knee has been reconstructed an automatic car may be driven earlier. High demand sport may need to be postponed for 12 months.
Is Physiotherapy Required?
Yes. A structured physiotherapy program is mandatory.
What are the Risks?
Risks of knee reconstruction include but are not limited to infection, blood clots in the leg, injury to nerves and blood vessels, stiffness, persistent instability and rerupture of the ligament graft.