PreOp Patient Education
Friday, July 03, 2020

  Your Body
  Medical Record
  Before Surgery
  Your Procedure

Anterior Cruciate Ligament

Arthroscopic Repair


This information is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. MedSelfEd, Inc. disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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Your doctor understands that all medical care benefits from close collaboration between physician and patient -- so be sure to review, with your doctor, all risks and alternatives and make sure you understand the reasons behind the recommendation for this particular procedure.

Now let's talk in detail about the procedure your doctor has recommended. That particular recommendation was based on a number of factors:

  • the state of your health,

  • the severity of your condition,

  • an assessment of alternative treatments or procedures and finally,

  • the risks associated with doing nothing at all.

And remember, the final decision is up to you. No one can force you to undergo a surgical procedure against your will.

When it comes to treating a torn anterior cruciate ligament -- or ACL -- surgery is almost always the only option that will relieve your symptoms.
The only alternative to surgery involves wearing a brace for 6 to 8 weeks in order to prevent the leg from bending at the knee, in hopes that the ligament will heal itself.
Only a small percentage of ACL injuries respond to this kind of treatment.
And patients who choose not to have surgery usually find that they cannot return to sports or other strenuous activities.
Finally, failure to repair the ligament may lead to further deterioration of the knee joint.
The kind of surgery that your doctor has recommended is called arthroscopic surgery.
Arthroscopic surgery is considered a "closed" procedure. It is important to understand the difference between "open" and "closed" surgical procedures, before making a decision whether or not to follow your doctor's advice.
Surgical procedures performed by making an incision large enough to expose the entire operative area ...
... are called "open" procedures.
Your doctor believes that your medical condition and overall state of health ...
... make you a good candidate for less intrusive, "closed" arthroscopic surgery.
However, it is important to understand that during the procedure, your surgical team is always prepared to convert an arthroscopic procedure to an open procedure - should they feel that your condition requires a more direct approach.
That means, that even though you will enter the operating room expecting to undergo an arthroscopic "closed" procedure there is always the chance, however remote, that your surgical team will find it necessary to perform an "open" procedure instead.
Converting to an open procedure will effect the length of your recovery and will probably require a longer stay in the hospital.
There is also a risk that your surgery will not be completed. The success of this procedure depends on the health of the other ligaments in the knee.
It is possible, in rare cases, that your doctor could learn during the procedure that your knee is not healthy enough to tolerate this operation. In that case you will wake up having undergone surgery, but not the repair of the ligament.
Of course, no surgery is completely risk free. But your physician believes that if you decide not to undergo the recommended procedure, you may be putting your health at risk.

Now I'd like to introduce you to another important member of the medical team -- the nurse.

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