The knee is a complex joint that connects the thigh with the lower leg. The knee joint and its ligaments permit flexion, extension, and in certain positions, medial and lateral rotation. It is a common site for sprain and dislocation.
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL is often injured in sports such as football or skiing. A twist, a direct blow or a fall may easily tear the ligaments. These tearing of the ligaments result in pain and swelling, as well as instability of the knee. You will feel that your knee is giving way, especially when trying to change direction on the knee.
By treating the instability and performing a reconstruction of the ligaments, the risk of developing wear and tear in the knee can be reduced.
Your surgeon can reconstruct a damaged ACL. This can be done by replacing the damaged tissue with a healthy strong tissue (a graft) taken from an area near your knee. This operation is called ACL Reconstruction.
Today, this surgery is most often done using the arthroscope. Two or more incisions will be made to your knee. An arthroscope will be inserted at one of the incision to look into the knee. Some other fine instruments will also be inserted to repair any damages found.
You will be admitted to hospital either a day before the surgery, or on the day of the surgery. If you have additional medical problems, admission may even be earlier.
A physiotherapist will perform a physical assessment to establish a baseline of your knee range of motion, and strength status before the surgery.
We strongly discourage smoking one week prior to surgery, and especially on the night before the surgery. Smoking makes it difficult for you to clear your secretions after surgery, and may impede your recovery.
No Food Consumption
You must not consume any food, not even water, after midnight. This is to prevent any vomiting and subsequent inhaling of the vomitus into the lung during surgery, which could be life-threatening.
Get a Good Night’s Rest
Have a good night’s sleep before your operation. Do let your doctor or nurse know if you require some medication to help you to sleep.
Personal Items & Valuables
We advise that you leave all your valuables and personal items at home, and to keep not more than ten dollars with you during your stay in the hospital.
Before you go for your operation
It is advisable for you to take a good shower, brush your teeth and rinse your mouth. You should refrain from drinking anything on the morning of your surgery. However, if you have to take medication for your medical problem, the nurse will advise you to take it with sips of water.
Shortly before the estimated time of your operation, the nurse will inform you to do the following:
You may be given medication in the form of tablets or an injection to help you relax. This medication will make you sleepy, and may cause dryness in your mouth.
You should not attempt to get out of bed after taking the medication. Our nurse or health attendant will transfer you to the operating theatre on a trolley.
Your family members could either return to the ward or wait in the waiting area just outside the operating theatre. Please advise them not to wait along the corridor.
Once you have arrived at the operating theatre, the nurse there will verify your identity and also the type of surgery you are scheduled for.
After verification, you will be transferred to another trolley and wheeled into the induction room to meet the anaesthetist and the surgeon.
The anaesthetist will give you an injection to put you in a deep sleep, so that you will not feel any pain. The operation is done under general anaesthesia.
Recovery Room After your operation, you will be taken directly to the recovery room. Your blood pressure, breathing and heart rate will be checked frequently.
Please inform the nurse if you are feeling nauseous or experiencing any pain, so that medication could be given to relieve your discomfort.
When you are awake and your blood pressure and pulse have stabilised, you will be transferred to the ward.
At the ward, the nurses will check your blood pressure and pulse closely for the first few hours.
Relief of Post-Surgery Discomfort Some level of discomfort is to be expected after the surgery. You will be given medications to help relieve any pain, as well as to help you recover from the operation.
DietDrinks will be served when you have recovered from the effects of the anaesthesia. You will be able to resume your normal diet subsequently if there is no complaint of nausea or vomiting.
As you need to rest in bed for at least a day, you will require a bedpan or urinal for elimination purposes.
Rehabilitation after Surgery
You will be taught some exercises and how to manage your brace after surgery.
Your surgeon and physiotherapist will discuss with you the rehabilitation plan, as you may or may not be allowed to bear weight on your operated knee.
Length of StayThe average length of stay for patients undergoing surgery for ACL reconstruction is two to three days. However, the length of stay may vary with each individual.
The following discharge instructions will help you to take care of yourself during your recuperation at home.
When to consult the doctor
Follow Up Appointment
The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.
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