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A new procedure on the horizon for ACL injuries?

When an athlete hears the words they have a torn ACL, there is a lot of uncertainty that runs through their mind. How soon can it be fixed? When can I get back to my sport?

These are just a few of the questions I’m asked when treating this injury.

Every year more than 200,000 ACL injuries are reported. The majority of injuries happen playing soccer, basketball and football.

Surgery and rehab are involved with recovery time lasting anywhere from six months to a year. While every patient is different when it comes to getting better, understanding that this type of injury takes time to heal is important.

The traditional surgery usually involves replacing the injured ligament with a graft or replacement tissue to restore the patient’s normal anatomy. 

There is a new study being looked at that might change the way ACL tears are treated.

I found a story on The Undefeated (http://theundefeated.com/features/new-acl-surgery-could-cut-rehab-and-recovery-time-in-half/) talking about a new procedure using a bridge to help the ACL ends heal back together without doing a reconstruction.

According to the story, the first human trial looked at 10 patients getting the traditional ACL reconstruction surgery and another 10 receiving what is called the Murray’s bridge-Enhanced ACL Repair (BEAR) procedure.

The procedure, created by Dr. Martha Murray, found that three months after surgery, the BEAR participants in the study all had ACLs that were healing and the flexibility was close to their healthy knee.

I think the Murray’s bridge-Enhanced ACL Repair (BEAR) procedure is an interesting concept.  While more studies will be needed to validate this treatment, there is a lot of potential.

Our goal as doctors is to help get athletes back to their sport safely. If there is a potential new treatment that could speed the return to high-level athletics sooner than is currently possible after traditional ACL reconstruction surgery, I’m definitely interested in seeing what this procedure can do long term.

The study will be published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine next month.

For more information on ACL injuries and prevention please contact me at http://www.orthopedicarizona.com/contact-us/