ACL injuries are potentially career threatening injuries to elite athletes and potentially work/life limiting in the general public. The anterior cruciate ligament is necessary to prevent anterior instability in your knee. With an injured or torn ACL, knee stability is compromised resulting in significant difficulty with activity. The typical surgery to reconstruct an ACL uses either cadaver tissue or part of your hamstring/patellar tendon as a replacement. Furthermore recovery generally takes at least 1 year.
The traditional treatment of surgery for ACL tears can help in some cases, however has limitations. One of those limitations is restricted return to prior activity level. Another potential issue is increased rates of arthritis long term. Both of these issues are a result of difficulty in replacing the specific angle that the normal ACL ligament fits in. When replacing with cadaveric tissue or with a tendon transplanted from another part of the body, it is incredibly difficult to replace the angle that the ACL should normally be placed.
Alternative, effective treatments for ACL tears are necessary. A newer option is to inject your own cells into an ACL that has been injured in order to heal and repair your ACL tissue with the normal ligament in place. For partial ligament tears, the Regenexx PRP treatment can be used. For more significant tears where the ligament fibers are still intact, the Regenexx same day stem cell treatment protocol is a game changing option in the treatment of ACL tears.
Here is a picture of an x-ray guided injection with contrast with the ACL confirming specific targeting. With precise x ray guidance, your own cells can be placed directly into the ACL. Treating and healing an ACL injury with your own cells, gives the ability to retain your own tissue, retain the right alignment for the tissue, which should give a better chance to return to your prior activity level and prevent future osteoarthritis.
Can torn ACLs be treated? Yes, as long as you have fibers that are still intact throughout the ligament. The Regenexx technique we utilize to treat an ACL tear involves treating the ligament at both its origin and insertion in order to cover the full length of the ligament. We are able to confirm full length treatment of the ACL by visualizing the ligament with dye flowing through the tissue seen under xray guidance.
When is the right time to consider a Regenexx treatment for an ACL tear? The sooner the better, but chronic injuries can improve as well. If you have a significant ACL injury, the Regenexx treatments in conjunction with physical therapy give you the best non-surgical chance of recovery, long term knee stability, and recovery of function.