The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of four major knee ligaments. The ACL is critical to knee stability, and people who injure their ACL often complain of symptoms of their knee giving out from under them. Therefore, many patients who sustain an ACL tear opt to have surgical treatment for this injury.
ACL injuries are often associated with sports activities, where they most often occur. However, ACL injuries can also affect people with normal daily activities.
Microfracture is a surgical procedure performed to address areas of cartilage damage inside the knee joint. Microfracture causes a healing response so that new cartilage is formed where there was a gap in cartilage.
The problem with microfracture is that it only works for small areas of damage. Moreover, the healing does not develop in the same way as normal cartilage. Because of this, as many as 42% of people who undergo a microfracture procedure will require additional surgery in the future.
Patellar/Quadriceps Tendon Repair
The patellar tendon and quadriceps tendon on the front of the knee joint can be injured, causing a loss of strength of leg extension. When the tendon is torn, patients have a difficult time straightening the knee joint.
Treatment of a patellar tendon or quadriceps tendon rupture is nearly always a surgical repair. Without surgical repair, not only can straightening the knee be difficult, but even normal walking is sometimes challenging.
Partial Knee Replacement
A partial knee replacement is an option for certain types of knee arthritis. When the cartilage loss is limited to a small portion of the knee joint, it may be possible to replace just the worn-out portion of the joint. However, in cases where the arthritis is more widespread, a total knee replacement will need to be performed.
Partial knee replacements are becoming more common as robotic-assisted surgery is becoming more prevalent. The knee joint is generally divided into three compartments, and each of these three compartments (medial, lateral, and patellofemoral) can be replaced with a partial knee replacement.
Broadly speaking, partial knee replacement is considered if you are over 60, weigh less than 180 pounds (82 kilograms), and are unable to fully flex or extend the leg due to joint degeneration and/or deformity.
Knee Replacement Surgery
When a knee replacement is performed, the bone and cartilage on the end of the thigh bone (femur) and top of the shin bone (tibia) are removed. This is performed using precise instruments to create surfaces that can accommodate the implant perfectly. A metal-and-plastic knee replacement implant is then placed in to function as a new knee joint.
Depending on the condition of the cartilage underneath the kneecap, the kneecap surface may also be replaced. Total knee replacement surgery is very successful, with about 90% of implant recipients reporting good long-term results.