Dr Tan Chyn Hong was featured on Channel 5’s health show, Body And Soul, to share about ACL reconstruction surgery. The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is located near the front of the knee and is one of the most common area to be injured.
ACL Reconstruction Procedures
Dr Tan gave a rare opportunity for viewers to see a live step-by-step demonstration of ACL reconstruction. Using an artificial model of the human leg, Dr Tan demonstrated the procedures involved:
- Patient’s own hamstring tendon is harvested.
- A tunnel wide enough for the tendon graft to go through, is drilled in the femur and tibia bones.
- The tendon is inserted through the tunnel.
- Screws are used to secure the tendon in place.
- With the newly reconstructed ACL, stability in the knee is regained.
Q&A on ACL Reconstruction
After the live demonstration, Dr Tan proceeded to answer a few questions related to ACL injury and reconstruction:
Is it true that stretching my muscles before exercising will prevent injuries?
Stretching your muscles are good for cooldown exercises when your muscles are already warmed up. However, it is not advisable to do stretching before you begin exercising. You should instead warm up your muscles by doing something similar but lighter than your actual exercise. For example, you can start your running routine by brisk walking first.
How long is the recovery period for ACL reconstruction surgery as an active runner?
The ACL reconstruction surgery recovery occurs in phases. You should be able to walk (with or without crutches) immediately after the surgery. The wound would take around 14 days to heal. You will be able to do light runs in a straight line, or on a treadmill, within three months’ time. However, you need to wait nine to 12 months for full recovery to engage in sports. Going back to sports before a full recovery will likely lead to early arthritis onset.
Does ACL reconstruction increase my risk of getting rheumatism later on in life?
It does not. In fact, the reconstructed ACL will help stabilise your knee and prevent further damage to it, especially if you are an active sportsperson.