What is the treatment for an ACL injury?
Non-surgical therapies alone may be sufficient in treating an ACL injury for patients that do not require the ACL for daily or sports-related activities or do not experience knee instability. Applying a knee brace and weight-bearing with the assistance of crutches or a walker are often recommended. The pain and inflammation associated with this injury can be managed with a combination of RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). When appropriate, Dr. Patel will design a physical rehabilitation program aimed at improving range of motion and restoring muscle strength.
Surgical reconstruction of the ACL may be necessary to restabilize the knee joint for patients who desire to continue athletic activity especially with pivoting, cutting, and jumping, in the event of failed non-surgical therapy, or if a patient experiences a more severe or complex ACL tear. Reconstruction of the ACL can be accomplished through a minimally invasive arthroscopic surgical procedure using a small camera (arthroscope) and specialized surgical instruments. The damaged fragments of the ACL are excised and replaced with a tendon graft, either from the patient (autograft) or donor tissue (allograft). Dr. Patel utilizes a number of autograft options after discussion with the patient about the pros and cons of each and consideration of patient goals and expectations. Smaller incisions are utilized in this procedure thereby reducing the recovery time for patients to return to their normal daily activities.