Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the main ligaments stabilizing the knee. ACL injuries are common injuries for athletes engaged in sports that require quick lateral motions or pivoting of the knee. These injuries are commonly seen in sports such as football, soccer, basketball, skiing, and volleyball.  However, these injuries do not occur solely in athletes and can occur as a result of overuse and repetitive strain.

Once the ACL is torn, it does not heal on its own. Treatment options can include non-operative treatment with physical therapy and bracing. However, for those patients who want to remain active in sports or whose knee gives way in daily activities, ACL reconstruction is recommended.

Signs and symptoms of an ACL Tear:

  • A sudden “pop” felt in the knee
  • Swelling of the knee
  • Pain that does not subside
  • Difficulty bearing weight on the knee
  • Feeling the knee buckle or giving way


ACL Reconstruction Surgery

ACL Reconstruction is an effective arthroscopic surgical treatment for those experiencing chronic knee pain and weakness as a result of a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). The ACL can not be sewn back together by itself, so a graft will be used. Depending upon the patient’s age and nature of injury, this graft can be taken from either the patellar tendon of the knee or the hamstring tendon in the thigh.

To begin ACL Reconstruction, one or more small incisions are made around the knee area where the pencil sized cameras and surgical instruments will be inserted. Next, a clear sterile fluid is injected that allows the surgeon to visualize the area in greater detail.

Once the torn ACL has been verified, small surgical instruments are used to trim the torn portion of the ACL. Next, small tunnels are made in the surrounding bone so that the new ligament can be threaded through these tunnels. This threading process allows for stability and strength of the newly reconstructed ACL.

Now that the portions of the ACL have been properly threaded, specialized surgical sutures are used to reconstruct the ACL using the tissue graft. These sutures are strong and flexible and allow for the ACL to remain as one complete ligament.

Dr. Michael Russonella is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon and specializes in Sports Medicine. He completed his Sports Medicine Fellowship at the American Sports Medicine Institute as well as his Orthopaedic Surgery Residency at the prestigious North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York. Dr. Russonella utilizes the latest in both non-surgical and surgical treatments to treat athletes of all ages and is an expert in the utilization of arthroscopic surgical techniques.

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Experts in Orthopaedic Surgery, Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation

It’s All about How We Treat You

At North Jersey Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Institute Dr. Russonella is dedicated to providing the highest standard of care and comfort of athletes of all ages, including patients with non-related sports injuries.  To provide efficient and excellent care he focuses on personal interactions and individualized care for each and every patient. He is committed to improving the overall condition of the patient as well as their quality of life by offering various treatment options to minimize downtime and maximize recovery.

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