The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, provides stability to the knee during any movement that requires pivoting or rotation. An injury to the ACL can make the knee unstable, leading to other injuries such as meniscal tears or cartilage damage. Less serious ACL injuries can sometimes be treated with the use of a brace and physical therapy, but a tear in the ACL can only be treated with surgery.
Most commonly, the ACL is torn while playing a sport that requires planting the foot and changing direction (for example, basketball or football), although other sports such as skiing also carry a relatively high risk of an ACL tear. Gender differences play a role as well: Women are two to four times more likely to suffer an ACL injury than men. Studies suggest this may be due to subtle differences in knee anatomy in women, and possibly to a weakening of the ligament caused by the female hormone, estrogen.
Because a torn ACL cannot be repaired, it is typically reconstructed using a tissue graft, or replacement, for the original ACL. There are two sources for tissue grafts: An autograft uses part of a tendon from elsewhere in the patient’s own body (typically the patellar or hamstring tendon); an allograft uses similar tendon material harvested from an organ or tissue donor at the time of death.
All ACL reconstruction surgeries are performed arthroscopically. Dr. Nordt uses advanced techniques that position the replacement ligament in a way that is more anatomically correct than in traditional ACL surgeries, giving the knee greater stability and lessening the potential for the development of arthritis and degenerative disease. The incisions used are smaller than previously, and patient recovery time is generally shorter.
Dr. Nordt’s mission is to return his patients in Richmond and beyond back to an active lifestyle, while also preventing any future injuries from occurring. If you’re in need of an ACL Reconstruction, contact Dr. Bill Nordt today and we’ll get you on your way to making a full recovery.
Dr. Nordt has been the team physician for numerous high school, collegiate and professional teams and has treated many ACL injuries in the Richmond area. ACL injuries are a common athletic event, which may or may not require surgery. When surgery is indicated, minimal arthroscopic procedures are mandatory and advanced rehabilitative programs are necessary to ensure a quick and full recovery. A return to a pre-injury level of sports is expected.