Dr. Johnson describes anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery.
ACL surgery today in 2009 is an arthroscopic outpatient procedure. So relative low morbidity, you are not there that long, very few complications, not without risk, but in the scheme of things, not a big deal. It is performed through an arthroscope. We replace your ACL that you have torn with a new ACL, if you will. So in other words, when you tear your ACL, it cannot heal. So it’s very simple–either you get it reconstructed or you live without it.
So when we give you a new ACL, which is the surgery done arthroscopically, we give you a new ligament, if you will. A majority of the time we use a graft; it’s called the graft that we give you a new ACL. The majority of the time, this is taken from your own knee, whether it be a piece of tissue from the front of your knee called the patellar tendon or a piece of tissue on the side of your knee which is called your hamstring tendon. Those are two common grafts for this surgery.
That graft is placed where your old ACL is. And believe it or not, in the operating room we use drills and screws and all the things you can find out in your garage, and that’s what we do. We drill tunnels, we put that ligament where it’s supposed to go, we anchor it with screws and washers, and then you leave the operating room. And over the next year, your body and Mother Nature convert that and heal that and incorporate that into your new ACL. So we are essentially giving you a new one, but then your body has to incorporate that.
About Dr. Johnson, M.D.:
Dr. Darren L. Johnson, M.D., received his medical degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles and his fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Dr. Johnson is currently Professor and Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery and Director of Sports Medicine at the University of Kentucky. His clinical interests include arthroscopy, knee and shoulder reconstruction and the double-bundle procedure for ACL repair.
Dr. Johnson was named among the Top Doctors for Women by Women’s Health magazine in 2008.