Breakthrough new treatment for torn ACL allows patients to avoid painful reconstructive surgery – CBS Philly
CHERRY HILL, NJ (CBS) — There’s a new breakthrough for a common knee injury that allows the body to heal itself and allows patients to avoid painful reconstructive surgery.
This is a collagen implant used to repair torn ACL, a ligament in the knee. They are often injured during sports activities
READ MORE: Philadelphia launches ‘Narcan Near Me’ towers to fight overdoses
“I just felt it go,” Phoebe Anderson said.
Anderson, 20, was playing rugby at the University of California, San Diego when she tore her ACL, the anterior cruciate ligament.
“It wasn’t painful, but it just felt like it was tearing,” she said.
It has become a common sports injury, especially among young women. There are 400,000 annual ACL tears in the United States that are traditionally repaired by reconstructive surgery using a graft.
“I was like I needed to have surgery immediately,” Anderson said.
Instead, she found an alternative with a South Jersey doctor.
“His expertise in sports medicine has been a huge factor for me, especially as a student-athlete,” Anderson said.
Dr. Sean McMillan of Virtua Orthopedics uses an implant called BEAR to repair torn ACLs.
READ MORE: President Biden announces measures to crack down on illegal firearms in Philadelphia, USA
“It’s a collagen implant that allows the body to reap its natural healing potential,” McMillan said.
The implant is placed between the torn ACL and then infused with the patient’s own blood. Over time, as the ACL reforms, the implant is absorbed and disappears.
“It acts like scaffolding to allow the body to regenerate,” McMillan said.
Anderson was McMillan’s first patient to receive the implant.
“It just makes more sense to heal the body part naturally rather than replacing it,” Anderson said.
Three months after receiving the implant, Anderson is regaining her strength in physiotherapy.
“It’s not like the other knee, but it’s pretty good,” she said. “I’m out of my corset.”
McMillan says that recovery with the implant is less painful and could have other longer-term benefits as well.
“We hear that a lot of athletes are losing their careers as arthritis sets in,” McMillan said. “It can be an alternative to keep that arthritis away. It’s a great option for a young athlete.
NO MORE NEWS: RiceVan helps give Afghan evacuees in Philadelphia a taste of home
The implant is the first FDA-approved implant to treat torn ACLs.