ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears and sprains are some of the most frequent forms of knee injury. This is especially true of athletes, who often compete in demanding sports events and may stop, change directions or pivot, placing a great deal of strain on the knee. The ACL is one of the main ligaments that stabilize the knee. The ACL connects directly to the femur (thigh bone) and shinbone, or tibia. At one time, an ACL surgery was the only way to repair a torn ACL. The available treatment options are rapidly changing though, and new advances in stem cell therapy have changed the ground rules on what can be done to repair a torn ACL.
All About ACL Tears and Stem Cell Therapy
A partial or total tear of the ACL used to mean a prolonged recovery and even then, if a graft was required, it might lead to osteoarthritis in later years. This can occur because grafts onto the ligament have to be placed at a slightly different angle to that of the original, natural placement. This adds extra pressure on the cartilage, increasing the chance of wear and tear on the knee. Fortunately, the rapid advancement of stem cell therapy and ACL repairs means that it is sometimes possible to avoid surgery and improve outcomes with adult stem cell therapy.
For those not familiar, stem cells are undifferentiated cells. This means that they are like blank building blocks that can regenerate, becoming other kids of cells, depending on the specific need of the body. Known as regenerative medicine, stem cell and PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapies harness the innate healing power of the human body. New stem cell therapies are literally rewriting the medical books, and changing the future of medicine in a big way.
Right now, physicians are using stem cells to encourage rapid healing of damaged tissue, once thought only repairable by surgery. MRI results show that tissue can be healed in place using products derived from naturally occurring processes from the patient’s own body. There is no risk of rejection or cross infection because the cells are produced by the patient.
Patients are healing faster with less discomfort and down time. Stem cell therapy is not just used to help repair torn ACL’s, it has been shown to help speed healing for tendonitis, rotator cuff repairs, meniscal tears and other cartilage injuries, as well as helping to relieve osteoarthritis of the hip, shoulder, elbow and knee. Stem cell therapy can be used as a stand-alone treatment or combined with surgery to promote rapid healing and a stronger repair.
If you, or a loved one, is suffering from a damaged ACL or would like to know more about our advanced stem cell and ACL repair therapies, please call board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bill Hefley at (800) 336-2412 to request an appointment, or request an appointment online.