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"Exploring the Latest Advances in ACL Knee Surgery and Rehabilitation"

I have attended several classes over the past 20 years regarding anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). I have followed every change in surgical options and the research for the most effective rehabilitation for ACL care and return to sports guidelines. It is one of the most detailed diagnoses with all the information you need easily accessible.

What is new on the surgical side is a new procedure called the Bridge Enhanced Anterior cruciate ligament Repair (BEAR). It is a combined suture repair of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) with a specific extracellular matrix scaffold that is placed in the gap between the torn ends of the ACL to facilitate ligament healing. The implant is made of a bovine extracellular matrix that is collagen-based.

There is the same risk as with other ACL repairs, these include risk of re-tear, infection, knee pain, meniscus injury, and limited range of motion. Clinical studies have shown that the procedure has a success rate of 80%. Other studies have stated a 14% re-tear rate.

In rehabilitation, the challenge with all ACL repairs is related to return to sports criteria. For several years, many athletes returned to their sports prematurely. It is understood that an athlete and others involved want to get the athlete back as soon as possible for many reasons. This is where return-to-sport was typically around 9 months. The recommendations now are 1-2 years. This is where your Physical Therapist working with your surgeon will conduct return-to-sport testing to ensure your knee is strong and able to perform the movements needed for your sport.

What you can take from this is being informed about the different procedures available for ACL repair. Since this is a new procedure, many of your local providers may not be doing this yet or will continue to do the procedures they know how to do.

If you or anyone you know needs ACL rehabilitation pre-operative or post-operative, send a message to schedule with me at If you want to work on an ACL prevention program, I have worked on ACL prevention teams and we can get started on this for kids as young as 4th grade and up.

Karen Baltz Gibbs, PT, DPT, CSCS, CMP, LMT, Owner of Garage Training & Rehab Gym

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