When placed under severe trauma, more than one major knee ligament can experience damage. A multi-ligament knee injury is relatively common, typically caused by a sports injury, motor vehicle accident, or a fall from a great height. A multi-ligament knee injury is diagnosed by Dr. Matthew Provencher, orthopedic knee specialist, when one or more of the four major ligaments are damaged. If an injury occurs and a patient suspects they have injured more than one ligament, an emergency room visit is highly recommended to determine if nerve and/or blood vessel damage was sustained. Dr. Provencher specializes in multiple knee ligaments surgery in patients in the greater Vail, Aspen and Denver, Colorado communities. His goal is to return patients to an active, healthy lifestyle following a multi-ligament knee reconstruction.
Dr. Provencher will perform a complete medical review and physical examination before performing a multiple knee ligaments surgery. He will also perform a set of x-rays and an MRI scan to determine injury severity, injury pattern, and possible damage to the surrounding blood vessels and nerves.
In the majority of patients, the multi-ligament knee reconstruction procedure will be performed during the first two weeks following the complex injury to allow for easier identification of the normal knee anatomy before scar tissue develops. Each patient will have a unique surgical procedure tailored to their needs since no two injuries are alike.
Certain patients may have one knee ligament that will heal with non-surgical measures and only one ligament that will require reconstruction, while other patients will require reconstructive knee ligaments surgery on more than one ligament. Dr. Provencher will repair one or multiple torn ligaments, typically in one procedure, utilizing a graft or multiple grafts from the patient (autograft) or a donor (allograft). The grafts will reconstruct the torn ligament/s and secure the structures that depend on the ligaments for stability back in the proper position to return full function to the injured knee joint. More complex knee reconstruction cases may require a staged surgical approach.
Recovery and Rehabilitation Following Multi-Ligament Knee Reconstruction
A multi-ligament knee reconstruction is a complex surgical procedure that must be followed with a strict physical therapy rehabilitation program. It is strongly suggested that patients work with the in-house physical therapists at Howard Head Sports Medicine to optimize their rehabilitation. Patients will be instructed to begin the physical therapy program immediately following the procedure, but range of motion exercises are usually limited for a predetermined amount of time set by Dr. Provencher and his orthopedic team.
A knee brace, cryotherapy sleeve, and crutches are required for the first 4-6 weeks after multiple knee ligaments surgery. The use of these items helps to keep weight off the injured knee and help protect the reconstructed ligaments.
Many patients can expect range of motion to be regained around the 12 week mark following multi-ligament knee reconstruction. A full recovery is commonly reached within 8-12 months.
To learn more about multi-ligament knee reconstruction, or to determine if your injury requires a multiple knee ligaments surgery, please contact the orthopedic office of Dr. Matthew Provencher located in the Vail, Aspen and Denver, Colorado area.