Surgical treatment of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rupture : where do we stand today?

Published online: Jun 27 2017

Pieter-Jan Verhelst, Thomas Luyckx

From the University Hospitals of Leuven, UZ Leuven, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Leuven, Belgium


The rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament is one of the most common orthopaedic injuries. This review gives an overview of the surgical treatment of the ACL rupture. A correct knowledge of the anatomy of the ACL is crucial in treating this injury. Recent studies describe the ACl as flat rather than divided in distinct structural bundles. Reconstructive and primary repair techniques can be used to approach this native anatomy. Reconstructive surgery of the ACL still is the golden standard in ACL surgery. An individualized approach is key and should be used. However, ACL reconstruction is not always a success. Return to preinjury of sports only reaches 65% and ACL-reconstructed knees are prone to osteoarthritis. Previous attempts at the primary repair of the ACL were archaic and had disappointing results. Modern diagnostics, operative and biological techniques and strict patient selection could initiate a revival of this technique.