OrthoAspen Features Advanced Surgical Treatments, Including Surgery for the Anterior Cruciate Ligaments (ACL)
High-intensity activity sometimes results in high-intensity injuries. Among most of the residents and visitors of the Aspen area, high-intensity activity is a way of life. Hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking and skiing are a central part of Colorado culture; and while the active mountain lifestyle of Aspen promotes excellent physical health, it likewise poses risks for orthopedic injuries.
One of the most common serious injuries that athletes and active people are prone to is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. ACL sprains of varying severity commonly affect athletes; these injuries range from minor sprains to full ACL tears. And while some ACL sprains or tears may be effectively repaired with non-surgical treatment options, some require ACL surgery in order to heal properly, restore full function and prevent further injuries.
ACL Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions
At OrthoAspen, we are committed to using conservative, non-surgical care whenever possible. For many patients, however, surgery offers the only effective, long-term solution for a torn ACL.
Patients who are considering surgical treatment for ACL tears have many questions and concerns. Listed below are answers and insights from OrthoAspen.
- Do all ACL injuries require ACL surgery?
Not all ACL injuries require surgical intervention, so how can patients determine whether or not surgery will likely be needed in their case? The answer depends both upon the severity of the injury and the lifestyle of the patient. An ACL that is mildly sprained or only partially torn can often heal without surgery. Patients who have suffered complete tears tend to have considerably less favorable outcomes without surgical treatment and will typically be recommended to undergo surgery.
- What types of patients tend to require surgical intervention?
Patients who have active lifestyles and intend to return to their sports activity or high-impact work activity are often advised to pursue a surgical solution due to the high risk of additional tears or secondary (new) damage.
- How are torn ligaments surgically reconstructed?
ACL surgery is aimed at reconstructing the torn ACL to restore healthy, natural function. In the past, ruptured ligaments were sewn back together during surgery; these methods, however, were not consistently effective. Modern ACL reconstructive surgery uses grafting made of tendon to reconstruct the affected ligament. Grafts may come from the patient’s patellar tendon, hamstring tendon, quadriceps tendon or from an allograft.
- How long is the ACL surgery recovery time?
Exact recovery time will naturally vary from patient to patient. While routine activity will be gradually re-introduced throughout the course of the recovery process, it will usually take four to nine months for the affected ACL to fully recover following surgery. During the recovery process, patients will take part in targeted physical therapy to build the strength and flexibility of the ACL and the associated connective tissue.
At OrthoAspen, we are proud to offer elite-grade orthopedic treatments for Aspen-area residents and visitors. If you have experienced a traumatic knee injury and are in need of ACL surgery, we can provide you with the most effective surgical care available. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.