The knee has an anterior and posterior cruciate ligament that act as stabilisers of the knee. These can be injured leading to the symptoms of instability, giving way and swelling. Patients often experience a ‘popping’ sensation and immediate swelling in the knee. Once the Anterior cruciate ligament is torn it does not heal, but some patients are able to carry on in their daily activities without any trouble. However some patients struggle with pivoting activities with the knee giving-way and this can in turn lead to secondary damage in the knee. If the knee is unstable then the anterior cruciate ligament can be reconstructed with a hamstring/patella tendon graft. Mr Patel does an anatomic reconstruction via ‘key-hole’ surgery, giving you the best chance to return to sporting activities, and this is done as a day-case procedure. All patients following anterior cruciate ligament injury benefit from specialised physiotherapy to help regain knee stability.
The Posterior cruciate ligament is less commonly injured and in isolation can be treated conservatively with painkillers and physiotherapy. If patients complain of anterior knee pain or have a multiple ligament injury to their knee then the posterior cruciate ligament can be reconstructed. Again physiotherapy is the key to a successful outcome.
The collateral ligaments are located on either side of the joint. The medial collateral ligament is located on the inner aspect of the knee, its’ injury is often associated with meniscal tears. Injury to the medial collateral ligament can be treated conservatively with bracing and physiotherapy. Injury to the lateral collateral ligament is less forgiving and can often render the knee quite unstable. Thus if ruptured it may often warrant reconstruction.
Risks of surgery include; infection, bleeding, pain, stiffness, nerve and vessel damage, thrombosis, graft failure, recurrence of symptoms, knee instability and anaesthetic risks. The risks of surgery are very low, and the benefits outweigh the risks.