Dr. Cunningham was interviewed by Adventure Magazine regarding the progress of technology to regrow a torn ACL through the BEAR Procedure.

“We speak to a top surgeon who is exploring a new technique to help some ACL patients heal better and faster. 

If you’re a skier (or basketball player, or avid trampoliner for that matter), you probably know that it’s not a matter of if you blow out your knee, but when. For me it was the winter of 2017, my eighth season living in Vail. I was foolishly gliding through early season powder, my ski caught on a hidden log under the snow and didn’t release. You know, the usual story.

I had my left ACL replaced a couple of months later using a graft from the hamstring tendon on the same leg. It’s a surgery that’s performed some 200,000 times each year in the United States, so I went in thinking I’d just follow the protocols and be back to ship shape in six to nine months, but as I learned when I tore my ACL, just because a surgery is routine, doesn’t mean it’s an easy recovery.

To keep the story short, my ‘recovery’ entailed two years of pain and only about 80% extension in my knee before I finally had a second procedure to remove loads of scar tissue, hardware, and bone fragments. Within nine months of that surgery, I was finally back in my hiking boots.

My story is surprisingly common, and honestly, many others go through far worse. Today, the very surgeon who cleaned up my knee and got me back on the trail (and even putting in a lot of miles in my trail running shoes these days) is one doctor who is exploring a ground-breaking new method of repairing ACLs that aims to save your ligament. I recently spoke to Dr. Richard Cunningham of Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery(opens in new tab) about the work he’s doing to try to support his patients’ natural healing process and how a new technique may significantly reduce recovery time for some patients.”

Full Article: Are we getting close to being able to regrow a torn ACL?

Dr. Cunningham’s Full Interview

Rediscover your inner athlete

Dr. Cunningham specializes in the treatment of knee, shoulder, and sports injuries.