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:
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.
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.
Excessive scar tissue in the joint leading to knee stiffness.
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:
Fracture (break) of the kneecap when patellar tendon is used as the graft material.
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:
Scarring in and around the knee joint, leading to a stiff knee and patellar problems (patella infers (baja) and pain.
Where irrigation of the joint with fluid under pressure leads to tracking of the fluid into the calf with tense swelling.
Haemarthrosis is bleeding into the joint space