Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Exams and Tests
An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is diagnosed through a medical history and a physical exam. A doctor who specializes in knee injuries (for example, an orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine specialist) will usually be able to accurately diagnose an ACL injury after:
If you see your doctor soon after your injury, the pain and the degree of swelling and muscle tenseness may make it difficult for your doctor to accurately diagnose the condition.
More imaging tests
Other tests that may help your doctor see how badly the knee is injured include:
Looking at fluid in the knee
If your knee is red, hot, or very swollen, a knee joint aspiration (arthrocentesis) may be done. This involves removing fluid from the knee joint with a needle. It is done to:
Local anesthetic may be injected to reduce pain and make the knee easier to examine.
Before arthroscopy, you and your doctor will decide what will be done if certain conditions are found. For example, you may decide in advance that if a complete tear of the ACL is found, it will be reconstructed during the arthroscopy. Or if a more severe condition is found, you and your doctor may agree to discuss the condition rather than proceeding with surgery at that time.
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