New Surgery Might Speed Recovery From ACL Injuries

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) connects the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shinbone). It keeps the tibia from moving forward on the femur, and prevents the tibia from rotating inward. Torn ACLs don’t heal on their own, and must be repaired surgically. The repair usually involves harvesting tissue tendon from the hamstring or patellar tendon, so the athlete must recover from two surgeries. Boston surgeons Martha Murray and Lyle Micheli, in a study on pigs, found that inserting a sponge in the injured part of the ACL and flushing it with the patient’s blood allowed the ligament to heal on its own. They have tried the surgery on a limited number of patients. The surgery was so successful that they gained approval for more extensive human studies. The surgery might shorten the rehabilitation rate after ACL surgery from one year to six months. (The Wall Street Journal, February 3, 2016)

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