Knee Ligament Surgery
Knee ligament surgery is an important part of orthopaedic knee surgery and in some cases normality cannot be restored to the knee without surgical intervention. Most ligament injuries to the knee are managed conservatively with rest, splinting and gradual increases in activity as the ligament heals.
Medial Collateral Ligament
This ligament runs down the inside of the knee and prevents the knee from being pushed into the knock-knee position by a force applied to the outside of the knee. A sprain or strain is typically treated with splinting and restricted activity but a full rupture may need to be repaired surgically. Post-operative physiotherapy will consist of steady increase of range of movement as dictated by the surgeon.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
The anterior cruciate ligament is an important internal knee ligament which controls the forward and back and rotational stability of the lower end of the thigh bone on the flat top of the shin bone. The anterior cruciate is commonly ruptured in sports which involve high forces and sudden turns with weight bearing on the knee, such as football and skiing.
Immediate severe knee pain and swelling of the knee follows rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament and full assessment is usually delayed for several weeks until the knee settles enough for an examination.
Reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament is now often done via knee arthroscopy, with the hamstring grafting technique commonly used. Intensive and long term physiotherapy is a key part of rehabilitation which can continue for six months to a year before high level activity such as sport can be resumed.
The knee is ideally suited to use of arthroscopy and some of the most successful procedures are performed on the knee joint via this technique. The use of the arthroscope has revolutionised knee surgery for a large number of knee problems such as cartilage injuries, loose bodies and ligament injuries and ruptures.
Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgery is too extensive a procedure to perform via an arthroscope although minimally invasive techniques are being developed. Ligamentous stability is very important for a good result and in some cases a more constrained prosthesis, such as a hinged implant, may be used to give stability to the knee joint.
You can try your hand at knee surgery yourself! A knee surgery game exists where you can be the surgeon and you can also try virtual knee surgery 2 and give a patient a knee replacement without untoward consequences.