Dr. Mark Wichman, an orthopaedic surgeon at Aurora Advanced Orthopaedics, has more than 25 years of experience in practice. Particularly expert in knee and shoulder repair, Dr. Mark Wichman focuses on the use of arthroscopic techniques.
In the human knee, four primary ligaments serve as connectors between the femur bone of the thigh and the tibia bone of the shin. The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, runs diagonally across the middle of the knee. Responsible for keeping the tibia behind the femur, it also provides rotational stability.
Although partial tears of the ACL may respond to nonsurgical interventions, complete tears most often require surgical reconstruction. For this, physicians typically prefer utilizing arthroscopic techniques, which involve the use of specialized instrumentation and surgical cameras that fit through small incisions in the skin and are minimally invasive.
To perform such a procedure, a surgeon will take a graft from either the patient’s own hamstring or patellar tendons or from a cadaver donor. The surgeon then adjusts the harvested tendon to the correct size. After removing the damaged ACL and any nearby debris, the surgeon introduces the graft and connects it to the tibia.
The surgeon then repairs any secondary damage and closes the site. As time goes on, new bone grows at the site where the graft is attached, thus increasing the stability of the new ACL.