ACL Tear/Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury
Injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) occurs very commonly in athletes of all levels. The ACL is a stout ligament located in the center of the knee joint, which is one of the key ligaments responsible for stabilizing the knee during lateral and pivoting maneuvers.
MRI Images of a Knee with ACL Injury (Normal Knee on the Right for Comparison)
Example: MRI Images of a Knee with ACL Injury (Normal Knee on the Right for Comparison)
Treatment focuses on getting the acute inflammation and swelling to subside with a combination of rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications and sometimes physical therapy. In select patients, ACL reconstruction may be necessary if the athlete wishes to return to play at their previous level of competition. The ligament is never repairable and must be reconstructed with a tendon graft, either borrowed from the patient (a hamstring tendon or part of the patellar tendon) or from a cadaveric donor (allograft). Whatever the source of the tendon graft, the standard of care today is arthroscopic ACL reconstruction. Daniel Quinn, M.D. highlights the details of this procedure in the video below.