Ligament reconstruction

​Ligaments are the strong bands of fibrous tissue that connect bones to other bones, and hold together structures such as joints. Sometimes, when a ligament is damaged or torn, surgery may be required to reconstruct it, and perhaps the joint that it connects.

Common questions

What is ligament reconstruction?

Ligaments are the strong bands of fibrous tissue that connect bones to other bones, and hold together structures such as joints. Sometimes, when a ligament is damaged or torn, surgery may be required to reconstruct it, and perhaps the joint that it connects.

What happens during ligament reconstruction?

The operation to reconstruct a ligament will usually be carried out under a general anaesthetic, so you’ll be asleep during the procedure. The operation can take an hour or two; often you’ll be able to go home on the same day, but sometimes you may need to stay in hospital overnight.

The exact surgery you have will depend on the type, location and severity of the ligament damage. If the ligament is ruptured it may need to be reconstructed using a graft of tissue which is usually taken from the hamstring muscle tendons, or from part of the tendon below the knee cap.

These operations are usually carried out arthroscopically, using ‘keyhole’ techniques. This requires only a series of small cuts in the skin to allow the surgeon to see inside the joint and to carry out the procedure using small instruments. Compared with ‘open’ surgery, this technique reduces scarring and minimises recovery time.

Why would I have ligament reconstruction?

Ligament reconstruction surgery may be required following an injury to a joint which has caused a ligament to rupture. Affected joints include ankles, shoulders, elbows and, particularly, knees.

What should I expect after ligament reconstruction?

You may have some pain after the operation which we’ll help you manage with painkillers. We’ll tell you how to care for your wound and, if you’ve had non-dissolvable stitches, we’ll make an appointment for you to have them removed.

A programme of physiotherapy will usually be suggested to help speed recovery. You’ll probably need some time off work, depending on the exact nature of your surgery.

Contact Benenden Hospital

It’s easy to make an appointment; you can ask your GP or give us a call on 01580 230661.