A 16 soccer phenom injures her ACL and an MRI shows that it’s shredded. If she gets her knee ACL removed and a new ACL surgically installed, the research says that she’ll likely have significant arthritis by the time she’s 30. In addition, 2/3’rds of patients who have the ACL surgery don’t return to pre-injury levels of sport by one year. Can she get ACL surgery healing without the surgery part?
This patient’s post-injury MRI is above left. What should be a darker band inside the yellow dashed lines looks instead like a bomb went off inside the ACL. You see lighter fibers that aren’t tight and parallel, but instead are wavy and disorganized. I had previously blogged on this patient’s ACL healing progress last summer, so this is an update with 2 more post-op films. In March 2013, instead of having her ACL ligament ripped out and replaced with a poor substitute, she underwent the Regenexx-ACL procedure with Dr. Schultz and had her own stem cells injected using precise injection inside the ligament. Her serial follow-up MRIs are above. 3 Months later she has organized ACL fibers in those yellow dashed lines. In July of 2013 she had a Regenexx-ACL booster shot using her highly concentrated platelets (14 times above baseline, or much higher than any non-Regenexx clinic can muster). By 11 months post procedure, she has a normal appearing ACL on MRI.
She has since returned to all activities and reports 100% resolution of her problem. So why did this 16 year old need a ACL surgery again?