What Are the Different Options for Knee Ligament Repair?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 13 June 2019
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Knee ligaments are the tough fibrous bands of tissue that are in the knee joints. Injury to these ligaments will often be very painful and result in instability. The method of knee ligament repair often depends on the extent of the damage. Minor injuries may only require rest and physical therapy. More extensive injuries, however, will often require surgery as well as physical therapy.

Ligaments are strips of stretchy connective tissue that hold bones together at joints. The knee joint has some very important ligaments. Some examples of knee ligaments include the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), and lateral collateral ligament (LCL). These ligaments are necessary for stability while standing, walking, and running. Injury to any of these major ligaments will usually require some form of knee ligament repair.

Knee ligament injury usually occurs when the ligaments are stretched beyond their natural limits. This can occur when people land wrong from a jump or twist their knees. A blow to the knee can also result in a knee ligament injury. Symptoms of a knee injury will usually include pain, swelling, and instability.


A minor knee injury may occur when one or more of the ligaments have just been stretched or only slightly torn, and knee surgery is not usually required for this type of injury. Instead, a doctor will often recommend that a person rests his knee. This means that he should not put any weight on it or try to walk. Resting the knee ligaments will often help facilitate natural knee ligament repair.

Patients will also usually be advised to apply ice to the injured knee, which will help keep the swelling down. Wrapping and elevating the injured knee will also help keep the swelling down and help the knee heal more quickly. A knee brace may also be recommended, along with physical therapy.

Surgical knee ligament repair is often required when the damage to an injured ligament is extensive. Partially torn ligaments may sometimes require this type of knee ligament repair. This type of knee surgery is almost always recommended for a complete tear or rupture of one or more ligaments in the knee.

During this procedure, a surgeon will usually try to use a tendon graft to repair the torn ligament. A small piece of a tendon from the patient, such as the hamstring tendon, may be used for this purpose. Donor tendon grafts from corpses may also be used. Although they are not as popular, synthetic grafts may also be used during surgical knee ligament repair.



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