Knee and Shoulder Injuries: What to Expect with Ligament Reconstruction and Rotator Cuff Repair
As an athlete who experienced ligament injuries during his youth, Daniel Vande Lune, MD, understands the pain, treatment, and recovery that patients undergo after sports injuries. It’s one of the reasons he pursued a career in orthopaedics and sports medicine. Today, he helps patients get on the path to recovery from injuries through a variety of treatment options, including surgical options like ligament reconstruction and rotator cuff repairs.
Dr. Vande Lune notes that surgery is typically not the first treatment option. Whenever possible, he recommends patients start with a combination of rest and physical therapy under the direction of their physician. However, if you do need surgery, Dr. Vande Lune offers advice for how to prepare.
What to Know About Ligament Reconstruction and Rotator Cuff Repair
A ligament is the elastic connective tissue that connects and stabilizes a joint, and when injured or torn, it can cause instability in the joint. Common ligament injuries involve the four ligaments that surround the knee:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
- Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)
In the shoulder, injuries to the tendons can lead to partial or complete tears that may require surgery. When there is a significant or complete tear in one of the ligaments or tendons that prevents you from doing normal activities involving movement of the knee or shoulder, ligament reconstruction or rotator cuff repair may be the most effective treatment option.
Dr. Vande Lune is skilled in using arthroscopy to perform ligament reconstructions and rotator cuff repairs. This allows him to see and repair the ligament or tendon using a fiber-optic video camera inserted through a small incision in the knee. This minimally invasive, outpatient surgical option helps patients recover more quickly and get back to their regular activities.
How to Prepare for Surgery
Your orthopaedic surgeon will walk you through what to expect before and after the surgery, and there are several steps you can take to prepare for a successful outcome.
Exercise: Your doctor may recommend a physical therapy or exercise plan to keep your joints moving well ahead of surgery. Do these exercises consistently to prepare your body for surgery and to help with the recovery process.
Organize Your Documents: From X-rays to MRI results, gather and organize your documents ahead of time to share with the orthopaedic surgeon. Make sure you collect everything in a format that is easy to hand over, and include when and where each test or study was completed. If you’re not sure what information might be needed, call ahead of your appointment to get a list.
Complete Paperwork in Advance: To expedite your appointment, download and print out the paperwork below and fill it out in advance. This saves you time when you arrive and enables you to get seen sooner. It also allows you time to gather all the information you need, so that you’re not trying to track down or recall specific details at your appointment. Bring this paperwork and your health insurance card to your appointment.
New Patient Paperworks / Forms:
Shower Before You Arrive: Arrive clean and wear clothes you can easily change out of for surgery. Your doctor may even provide special soap to help clean around the incision site ahead of your surgery.
Do Not Eat or Drink After Midnight: This is very important! Even ingesting small amounts of food or liquid can put you at risk. You could vomit when the breathing tube is being inserted or while under anesthesia. You risk getting food or bile in your lungs, which can lead to serious illness. So don’t stop for that latte on the way to surgery! You’ll receive a call the day before your surgery with instructions and a reminder not to eat or drink after midnight.
Recovering from Ligament Reconstruction and Rotator Cuff Repairs
Following surgery, your orthopaedic surgeon will provide a recovery plan to help you as you heal. Depending on the extent of your injury and the surgical repair that was needed, this will typically include intentional rest, pain medication, physical therapy, and follow-up appointments to ensure the repair is healing properly. Follow this plan closely to help ensure a successful recovery, and contact your orthopaedic surgeon if you have any questions.
Ready to take the next steps toward ligament reconstruction or rotator cuff repair? Schedule an appointment with Sun City Orthopaedics today.