Why The BEAR® Implant Technique?
ACL tears are a devastating injury. They usually affect young, athletic people who participate in cutting and pivoting sports. An ACL tear is usually the result of a non-contact injury. Patients often report stopping suddenly or abruptly changing direction while playing sports as the cause of their ACL injury. These injuries are commonly seen in skiing, soccer, football, and basketball.
The anatomy of the ACL is such that it has limited blood supply and thus limited healing potential. This ligament is located in the center of the knee joint where it is bathed in synovial fluid. This fluid filled environment does not allow for the migration and organization of healing cells to help heal a damaged ACL. Traditionally, torn ACL’s are surgically treated by removing the torn remnants of the ACL and then anchoring a piece of tendon (taken from the patient or a cadaver) back to the femur and tibia bones. Over the last 5 years, Dr. Cunningham has been a pioneer in ACL repair. He has been able to save and repair some torn ACL’s when the ligament tears up high near where the ACL attaches to the femur bone. During ACL repair, small suture anchors are placed in the femur bone and then the sutures coming off of these anchors are woven into the torn ACL thus repairing it back to the femur. However, most ACL tears occur in the middle of the ligament and until now, these were not repairable.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the Bridge-Enhanced ACL Restoration® (BEAR) technique. This could be a game changer, as it could make tears in the middle of the ACL repairable. Dr. Cunningham is utilizing the BEAR® procedure to repair ACL tears that were previously only able to be treated with a full ACL reconstruction and not repair.