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Complications of cruciate reconstruction

Generally in good hands cruciate ligament reconstruction is highly successful, but major complications may occur.

Recipient site complications

At the recipient site (where the new graft is positioned) complications of cruciate surgery can include:

Graft rupture

Rupture of the graft may occur secondary to poor positioning, overgrowth of the bony notch through which the graft passes or aggressive rehabilitation too early, before the new blood supply has grown in and the tendon fibres have regained strength.

Cyclops lesion

Cyclops lesion

A cyclops lesion is a lumpy obstruction in the joint, limiting range of movement, and due to excessive scar tissue in the notch.

Loosening of the fixation device

Fixation devices may become loose at the femoral or tibial bone shaft or in the tunnels.

Incorrect graft tensioning

It is essential that the surgeon has skill in measuring and 'tensioning' the graft, to ensure that it is exactly the right length when put under stress.

Arthrofibrosis

Excessive scar tissue in the joint leading to knee stiffness.

Infection

Infection within the knee is a serious problem needing urgent attention.

Donor site complications

At the donor site (where the graft material has been 'harvested' from) complications can include:

Patellar fracture

Fracture (break) of the kneecap when patellar tendon is used as the graft material.

Infection

Hernia at the site of a hamstrings harvest

Complications remote from either recipient or donor site

Remote from recipient or donor site complications can include:

Arthrofibrosis

Scarring in and around the knee joint, leading to a stiff knee and patellar problems (patella infers (baja) and pain.

Compartment Syndrome

Where irrigation of the joint with fluid under pressure leads to tracking of the fluid into the calf with tense swelling.

Haemarthrosis

Haemarthrosis is bleeding into the joint space

Updated: 17 Apr, 2013
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