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What is Ligament Preservation/Repair?

Ligament preservation/repair is a surgical procedure to correct and restore a torn or damaged ligament by replacing it with a graft or by removing the injured ends and suturing the remaining healthy ends of the ligament together. This procedure can be performed for ligaments of the shoulder, elbow, knee, and ankle.

Ligaments and Ligament Injuries

Ligaments are bands of tough elastic tissues around your joints. They connect one bone to another. Ligaments provide support to your joints and regulate their movements. Ligaments are present in your knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, and other joints.

The ligaments can be injured during contact sports such as football, soccer, and basketball. The other causes of ligament injuries include accidents and degenerative wear and tear.

Indications for Ligament Preservation/Repair

Your surgeon may recommend a ligament preservation/repair if you have:

  • Ligament injury
  • Advanced osteoarthritis that has not responded to non-surgical treatments

Procedure: Ligament Preservation/Repair

Ligament preservation/repair is usually performed under general anesthesia.

  • An incision (cut) is made at the specific site.
  • Your surgeon can either perform ligament preservation/repair through a single long cut called a traditional open surgery or through 2-4 tiny incisions using an arthroscope, called arthroscopic surgery.

The surgical repair of a torn/injured ligament can be accomplished through either of the methods below:

  • Your orthopedic surgeon may reconstruct the torn ligament using a tissue graft taken from another part of your body or from a donor. Gradually, over a period of a few months, the graft heals. Or,
  • Your orthopedic surgeon may remove the damaged part of the ligament and stitch the healthy ends together.

Upon completion, the incisions are closed and covered with a bandage.

Post-Operative Care for Ligament Preservation/Repair

You may be required to stay in the hospital for a day or two to monitor your recovery.

  • You will be prescribed medications to prevent blood clots.
  • Swelling and discomfort can be managed with pain relief medications.
  • You will be referred to a physical therapist soon after your surgery to regain range of motion.
  • You will be encouraged to move around to keep your joints active and facilitate a quicker recovery.
  • You should follow your surgeon’s advice regarding activities post-surgery.
  • You should visit your doctor for a follow-up examination after surgery to monitor your progress.

What are the Risks and Complications of Ligament Preservation/Repair?

Every surgical procedure carries some amount of risk. Similarly, ligament preservation/repair may also have certain risks and complications. These may include:

  • Complications from anesthesia
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nerve injury
  • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot)

What are the Benefits/Advantages of Ligament Preservation/Repair?

Ligament preservation/repair helps restore a torn or damaged ligament to a healthy state enhancing your quality of life. If you are an athlete, ligament preservation will help you return to your high-level sports after a period of rehabilitation.