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ACL Surgery Jargon - Explanation of Terms Relating to an Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Aug 24th 2015 at 12:43 AM

Are you confused by all the jargon and medical terms relating to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament? Perhaps you have been diagnosed with a torn ACL and now need to start researching what is involved in an Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction. Or maybe you have already decided to have ACL surgery and now need to understand some of the words used by your orthopaedic surgeon about the ACL injury, ACL Reconstruction Surgery and the ACL recovery process.

Here you will find definitions and easy to understand explanations of some key terms used in the area of Anterior Cruciate Ligaments which will be helpful to you before and after ACL surgery. ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament): Ligaments are thick pieces of tissue that connect one bone to another. Their function is to provide stability to a joint. Inside your knee there are two important ligaments called cruciate ligaments.

They are called this because they cross-over in a cruciform fashion (ie. shaped like a cross). The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is important in controlling rotation between the tibia (shin bone) and femur (thigh bone) such as in movements during pivoting sports.

Patella: Three major bones contribute to the knee joint. At the front of the knee is a bone called the patella (also known as the kneecap). The other two bones are the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone). The patella moves on the femur in a groove called the "trochlear groove". This joint carries a lot of force with bending activities such as climbing stairs and standing up from a seated position. This part of the knee joint is called the patellofemoral joint.

ACL Tear: Also referred to as an ACL Rupture, the most common method of injury is from non-contact activity that typically occurs whilst attempting a pivoting or cutting (change of direction) movement, eg. whilst playing sport. The injury can also occur from contact activity (e.g. being tackled from the side) when your knee buckles inwards whilst the rest of the leg is held in a fixed position.

Arthroscopy: Knee arthroscopy is an operation that uses a specially designed telescope called an arthroscope. This is inserted into your knee through a small incision ( referred to as "key hole" surgery). The arthroscope uses a digital camera through which the inside of your knee can be thoroughly inspected. If needed, any necessary procedures (e.g. removing torn cartilage, ligament reconstructions) can be carried out at the same time through separate small incisions.

While this is a helpful start in understanding some of the commonly used terms relating to Anterior Cruciate Ligament Surgery, it is absolutely essential to broaden your understanding and be well informed in this area as you prepare for ACL surgery and the recovery process that follows. Your medical specialists will give you all the necessary medical information, however the most helpful practical lessons will come from the experiences of others who have had an ACL reconstruction already and successfully completed their ACL rehabilitation program.

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