Ligamentoplasty / ligament replacement

In many cases, joints that have experienced a ligament tear can be stabilised with specialist physiotherapy. The strengthened muscles then take over the previous job performed by the injured tendon. Treatment must commence as soon as possible after the original injury for this to be successful, however.

If there are already indications of chronic joint instability, an operation is often inevitable. Even for sporty, younger patients, stabilisation via the muscles is often not enough to cope with the strains placed on the joint.

If the ends of the ligament cannot be joined together with a suture - something that can only be achieved with very recent tendon injuries - a tendon replacement procedure is carried out using the patient's own tissue in an operation known as a ligamentoplasty. We most commonly perform this procedure on the cruciate ligament of the knee (cruciate ligamentoplasty) or on the ligaments of the ankle.

Treatment details

Treatment duration: for an anterior cruciate ligamentoplasty approx. 1.5 hours (otherwise very dependent on the ligaments injured.)
In-patient stay: 3 – 4 days
Protection time: see below
Physiotherapy: see below
Time off work: varies by individual, depends on profession
Sports: with ligamentoplasties, personalised physiotherapy and sports medicine follow-up is essential for treatment success. As a result, patients must follow a build-up phase lasting several months in order to restore their full sports-playing capabilities.

Treatment plan

Ligamentoplasties of the knee joint can usually be carried out arthroscopically via small incisions in the skin. Depending on the individual's needs, we may remove one of the body's own tendons from the same knee and use this as a replacement for the injured one.

Within around 12 weeks, the tissue knits with the bone and then takes over all of the functions of the previous ligament.

In cases of chronic ankle instability, the torn tendons can also be replaced with a tendon from the patient's own body or part of the periosteum.

Diagram of a ligamentoplasty in the knee