ACL Reconstruction (Arthrex® TightRope®)

Overview

The anterior cruciate ligament, commonly called the ACL, is one of the ligaments that connects the femur to the tibia. During this procedure, a damaged ACL is replaced with a graft. The surgeon performs this procedure with the aid of an arthroscopic camera.

Preparation

In preparation for the procedure, anesthesia is administered. The surgeon prepares a tendon graft, which will take the place of the damaged ACL. In some cases, the graft is taken from the patient's body during this procedure. In other cases, the graft is harvested from a donor before the procedure. The surgeon creates a series of small openings in the knee for the arthroscope and the other instruments.

Drilling the Tunnels

The surgeon uses a specialized drill to create a small tunnel through the femur and down into the joint. The surgeon adjusts the tip of the drill to increase the diameter of the lower portion of this tunnel. The surgeon creates a second tunnel through the tibia.

Inserting the TightRope

The surgeon inserts the ends of the TightRope device through the femoral tunnel. These ends are grasped and pulled down through the tibia tunnel. They are attached to the tendon graft.

Securing the Graft

The graft is pulled up through both tunnels. The TightRope device is pulled tightly against the femur. The device provides a firm anchor point, holding the graft securely in place within the joint. The lower portion of the graft is secured with a screw.

End of Procedure

When the procedure is complete, the openings are closed and bandaged. The knee is immobilized. After two or three weeks, the patient will begin performing limited exercises while wearing a knee brace. Gradually, the patient will progress to a physical therapy program.

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