ZocdocAnswersIs a knee replacement possible when the knee is lacking an ACL ligament?

Question

Is a knee replacement possible when the knee is lacking an ACL ligament?

The ACL was snapped and lost 40 years ago, and at almost 64 the cartilage is wearing out and the knee showing signs of osteoarthritis. I'm not ready for a knee replacement but I'm wondering if that's even possible without the ACL..

Answer

The general answer to your question is yes, the knee can be replaced without an ACL ligament. However it is important to discuss your situation with an orthopedic surgeon. The reason for this is that when the knee is replaced completely, all of the ligaments including the ACL are torn away and removed anyway. Thus, the fact that you do not have an ACL will not have any bearing on whether or not you have a total knee replacement. The decision of whether or not to get a total knee replacement has a lot more to do with your symptoms and your age. At the age of 64, you are right at the age when becomes okay to consider getting a knee replacement as it will most likely last your entire life. However, before jumping into it, you should consider other options as having a total knee replacement is a big endeavor and your knee will never feel the same after. I would have your knee examined by an orthopedic surgeon before making a definitive decision. The orthopedic surgeon will start off with plain x-rays of the knee to see how much cartilage is left in the knee. This gives a fairly good prediction of whether or not you will improve regarding your symptoms with a knee replacement. After that, the surgeon may get an MRI to make sure that there are no other structures that need attention.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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