It may not be time to break out the champagne yet. However athletes everywhere should note that in a clinical trial at Boston's Children's Hospital, surgeons have been quietly conducting a successful experiment. Over the last year, 10 adults have received ACL (anterior crucial ligament) repair without having to sustain another surgically induced injury.
It works like this: Instead of taking ligament tissue from another part of the patient's body (the current procedure), doctors can now soak a sponge, made of protein similar to the patient's ligament, in the patient's own blood. This blood soaked sponge is then inserted into the torn ACL, where it stimulates new ligament tissue growth. The repair process takes about 8 weeks. Athletes are therefore spared the longer recovery attendant to the slower current procedure.
Before doctors can claim victory, a new study with 100 patients will be conducted. However, based on current findings, things are looking good for all those who sustain torn ACL injuries.