Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear = ACL Injury What Is The Anterior Cruciate Ligament? The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most important of four strong ligaments connecting the bones of the knee joint. It is often injured. Ligaments are strong, dense structures made of connective tissue that stabilize a joint. They connect bone to bone across the joint. The function of the ACL is to provide stability to the knee and minimize stress across the knee joint. It restrains excessive forward movement of the lower leg bone (the tibia) in relation to the thigh bone (the femur). It limits rotational movements of the knee. Nationwide Diagnostic Imaging & Lab Services Scheduling and Bene t Management A tear to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) results from over- Ph: 800-331-6062 stretching of this ligament within the knee. It's usually due to a Fax: 708-535-8028 sudden stop and twisting motion of the knee, or a force or "blow" to the front of the knee. The extent of the tear can be a partial or a Online: www.diatri.net complete tear. Image 1 MDM, A DiaTri Company - Diagnostic and Lab Scheduling Services Ph: 800-331-6062 Fax: 708-535-8028 Online: www.diatri.net E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org How is a knee ligament injury diagnosed? - In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for a knee ligament injury may include the following: an X-ray, an MRI, a CT/CAT Scan, Arthroscopy, or a Radionuclide Bone Scan. Treatment for knee ligament injuries: Speci c treatment for a knee ligament injury will be determined by a physician based on: age, overall health, and medical history, extent of the injury, the tolerance for speci c medications, procedures, and therapies. Treatment may include: Muscle-strengthening exercises Anterior Cruciate Protective knee brace (for use during exercise) Ligament Tear = Ice pack application (to reduce swelling) Surgery ACL Injury Image 2 ACL Reconstruction - Although a number of di erent types of tissue have been utilized to reconstruct the ACL, the most common type of ACL reconstruction involves harvesting the central third of the patellar tendon with a bone block at each end of the tendon graft. After performing a diagnostic arthroscopic examination of the knee, the central third of the patellar tendon is harvested. (Image 1) The remaining tendon is then repaired. After harvesting the tissue, drill guides are used to place holes into the tibia (Image 2) (bone below the knee) and femur (bone above the knee). By placing the drill holes at the attachment sites of the original ligament, when the graft is pulled through the drill hole and into the knee, it will be placed in the same position as the original ACL. After pulling the graft through the drill holes and into the joint to replace the torn ACL, the graft is then held in place with bioabsorbable screws Image 3 or metallic screws. (Image 3) Fastening the graft in this manner allows new blood vessels to grow into the transferred graft and for healing to occur. Typically, the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis.