4 years ago1,000+ Views
My college roommate is an amazing volleyball player. She's been playing the sport since she was 13 and was on a full ride scholarship to our university. Her talent and love of the sport, however, wasn't enough to keep her on the court. After 3 ACL tears, two surgeries gone no-quite-right and warnings from her doctor that her next tear might mean serious consequences, my roommate had to sit her senior year out on the sidelines. Because I know how serious these injuries are, I was excited to see this article in the Boston Globe about the future of treating ACL tears. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the ligament that essentially keeps your knee together. Tearing it makes it nearly impossible to walk and there are only so many ways doctors can try to fix it (this often can involve grafting cadaver ligaments as replacements or drilling holes through shin bones) Today, ACL tears are one of the most common knee injuries, especially among basketball and soccer players. Every year, approximately 400,000 people tear their ACLs in the United States. Dr. Martha Murray has been working on a sponge scaffold technique for an ACL treatment that doesn't involve the cutting and drilling that it traditionally requires. Murray's technique uses a sponge-like "scaffold" that will slowly pull the two loose ends of the snapped ligament together. Once they have formed a loose bond, she ties the ends together and they can begin growing back together naturally. It will take an estimated 6-8 months to be fully healed, but there is significantly less trauma on your joint. The team is hoping to begin testing on human knees in 2015, due to their success with their tests run on pigs. For more information on their testing plans, click through to the link.
This is awesome! Eventually, I'm sure these procedures will have a shorter recovery time as well (once we figure out what proteins to target, etc.!) Anyways, even with invasive surgeries to fix ACLs, the recovery period is really long!
Invasive surgeries are so scary to me. I've seen too many friends have complications post-surgery. I'm glad that we are working towards changing that.