Information sheet for children and parents undergoing ANTERIOR CRUCIATE
LIGAMENT reconstruction.
You have been given this sheet because you have hurt your knee and Mr Haslam
(your surgeon) thinks it is better for you to have an operation on your knee than to
leave it alone.
The knee is a joint which moves a bit like a hinge. Inside the knee are LIGAMENTS
which hold the BONES together. The ligaments are really like bits of string to stop
the knee being wobbly.
When you injured your knee one of the bits of string snapped. This ligament doesn’t
mend itself and this means that your knee is a bit wobbly. You may have felt you knee
wobble at times when playing sport or running. This is because the bit of string called
the Anterior Cruciate ligament is broken. The ligament is called anterior because it is
at the front and cruciate because it forms part of a cross. So really all it means is front
cross string.
Life without the front cross string in your knee means you may find it difficult to do
things you like to do such as football, trampolining, games and PE.
You also may cause more damage to your knee and tear the CARTILAGE. The
cartilage is like a “shock absorber” in the knee.
Damage to the cartilage in your knee is much more likely if the front cross ligament is
Mr Haslam wants the operation to stop the cartilage being torn. When you are older
your knee will wear out very quickly if the “shock absorbers” have been torn.
The aim of the operation is to
1. Give you a knee which is not wobbly.
2. Stop tears of the shock absorbers
3. Stop the knee from wearing out quickly
The operation
You will need to be asleep whilst the operation takes place. A general anaesthetic is
given by one of the anaesthetists.
The front cross string in your knee needs to be replaced with something else. I use the
HAMSTRING TENDONS. You can feel them behind your knee. Tendons are also
bits of string but they join the muscles to bones. We take the tendons from the same
knee and make them into a “new ligament” which is put where the old front cross
ligament used to be.
The operation is done using key hole surgery which means you don’t have any big
scars. Mr Haslam will show you where the cuts will be.
The new ligament is held in place with a screw and a button.
It is strong enough to walk on straight away bit you will need crutches for the first
few days.
After the operation the physiotherapist will tell you what you can and can’t do.
Physiotherapy is very important to make your knee strong again.
Normally you need to wait 9 months before playing sports again.