Joints make the movement of limbs possible. Their structure is rather complicated and varied. Important parts of joints are joint ligaments, which are responsible for allowing the motion of the endings of bones, while keeping them safely together. Knee joints are among the most complex joints of the human body exposed to the heaviest loads. Knee ligament sprains or tears involve great pain and limited movement. Most often it is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that is injured. In the majority of cases, surgery is required.
The reconstruction of cruciate ligaments is performed within the framework of minimally invasive procedures, using arthroscopic (performed on the joints using an endoscope) technique. During surgery, the damaged parts are removed, the joints are washed out and the cruiciate ligaments are replaced by ligament plasty.
Advantages of using the arthroscopic technique are that the structure around the joints is spared, the muscle covering the joints does not have to be cut through and the extent of damage to the issue is significantly reduced. Recovery involves less pain and fewer complications and the period of rehabilitation is considerably shortened.
Post-surgery rehabilitation is made up of two phases:
What is referred to as early rehabilitation takes place in a hospital environment, under the supervision of a physiotherapist. It usually takes 2-5 days. Initial physiotherapy on the operated knee is followed, after a few weeks, by gradually putting weight on the knee, initially with the assistance of and later on gradually without crutches, while strengthening muscles within the framework of a personalised exercise programme.
This is followed by outpatient rehabilitation, which takes several months and is complemented with exercise at home, which latter is an essential prerequisite of full recovery.
Arthroscopy is a common surgical procedure in which a joint (arthro-) is viewed (-scopy) using a small camera. Arthroscopy gives doctors a clear view of the inside of the knee. This helps them diagnose and treat knee problems. Technical advances have led to high definition monitors and high resolution cameras. These and other improvements have made arthroscopy a very effective tool for treating knee problems. According to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, more than 4 million knee arthroscopies are performed worldwide each year.
Arthroscopy is done through small incisions. During the procedure, your orthopaedic surgeon inserts the arthroscope (a small camera instrument about the size of a pencil) into your knee joint. The arthroscope sends the image to a television monitor. On the monitor, your surgeon can see the structures of the knee in great detail. Your surgeon can use arthroscopy to feel, repair or remove damaged tissue. To do this, small surgical instruments are inserted through other incisions around your knee.