Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction

What is the anterior cruciate ligament?

The knee is made up of three bones. These are:

  • Femur
  • Patella
  • Tibia

These bones are held in place by four main ligaments. These are:

  • Posterior cruciate ligament
  • Anterior cruciate ligament
  • Lateral collateral ligament
  • Medial collateral ligament

The anterior cruciate ligament is situated diagonally in the middle of the knee. It helps to keep the tibia in place, and prevents it from sliding in front of the femur. The anterior cruciate ligament is essential for stability in the knee.

How can it be damaged?

The anterior cruciate ligament can be damaged in the following ways:

  • Direct trauma, such as a fall or hard knock
  • A sudden stop when running
  • A sudden change of direction when running

What are the symptoms of an injured anterior cruciate ligament?

Symptoms of an injury include:

  • Knee pain
  • Swelling
  • Difficulty or discomfort when walking
  • Giving way

What is anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction?

During an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction procedure, your orthopedic surgeon will rebuild the injured ligament. This is generally done by replacing the damaged ligament with a tissue graft on which a new ligament can grow.

This type of procedure is performed arthroscopically. During arthroscopy your orthopedic surgeon will insert a camera into your joint. Images will then be displayed on screens for him see as he works with small surgical tools. The surgical equipment used in arthroscopy is particularly small, which means that the incisions made in the body will be small, less painful, and will heal much quicker than those made in traditional open surgery.

How long will recovery take?

Recovery will depend on the severity of your injury, as well as your personal condition. Speak to your orthopedic surgeon about rehabilitation, physical therapy, and any lifestyle changes that might be required.


Dr Gabriel Pirjol is based at St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban and also consults and operates from Gateway Hospital in Umhlanga, Westville Hospital and Malvern Medicross.


Telephone : +27 31 202 5463

Email :

Address : Suite 24 Chelmsford Medical Centre
St Augustine's Hospital
107 J B Marks Road
Berea, 4001