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Arthroscopy and ACL

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)

ACL reconstruction is surgery that replaces a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which is one of the major ligaments in your knee. ACL injuries occur most often during sports that require sudden stops and changes in direction — such as basketball, soccer, football, tennis, volleyball and gymnastics.

Physical therapy may successfully treat an ACL injury if you are relatively inactive, participate in moderate exercise/activities or play sports that are less stressful on the knees.

ACL reconstruction is generally recommended if:

  • You're an athlete and want to continue in your sport, especially if the sport involves jumping, cutting or pivoting

  • More than one ligament or the cartilage in your knee is injured

  • You're young and active

  • The injury is causing your knee to buckle during everyday activities

With ACL reconstruction, the torn ligament is removed and replaced with a piece of tendon from another part of your knee or from a donor. This outpatient procedure is performed through small incisions around your knee joint. The procedure is performed by orthopedic surgeons, who are doctors specializing in surgical procedures of the bones and joints.


Arthroscopy is a procedure for diagnosing problems you may be having with your joints. Your surgeon inserts a narrow tube attached to a fiber-optic video camera through a small incision. Then your joint function is easily viewed on a high-definition video monitor. Surgeons can even repair some types of joint damage during arthroscopy, with tiny instruments inserted through small incisions.

Your doctor might use arthroscopy to help diagnose and treat a variety of joint conditions, most commonly those affecting the knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle, hip and wrist. This is particularly helpful if x-rays and other radiology tests do not answer the important questions.

The conditions your doctor might treat with arthroscopic surgery include loose bone fragments, damaged or torn cartilage, inflamed joint linings, joint infections, torn ligaments or scarring within the joints.