ESPN recently reported a new approach to ACL repairs that could potentially get athletes back to sport much faster with less complications including arthritis. Typically ACL surgery can take up to a year for a full recovery. Plus data suggests the 1st year following surgery performance can be challenging as the body needs to adapt to the prolonged recovery process including muscle memory, proprioception, atrophy, biomechanical compensation and osteoarthritis.
There is a growing trend for more customized minimally invasive techniques in sports medicine & this approach represents a promising approach to ACL tears. With new science Dr’s are developing biologic scaffolds to bridge a tear rather than requiring a cadaver graft & drilling holes into bone for a more natural recovery & ligament. In addition to the scaffold adding bone marrow stem cells or platelet rich plasma may also stimulate healing and naturally reduce inflammation. More human studies are needed before an approach like this is ready for prime time, but great to see the strong science being done. At the Orthohealing Center, we follow all the latest trends in minimally invasive orthopedics & sports medicine.