(05/22/13) - There is a new way to keep reconstructed knees from breaking down
again. Half of the people who suffer torn ACL's will need reconstructive
surgery, but studies show many of those procedures will not have lasting
An ACL tear can end a career, or a season, in a split second. Danny Hansen knows the feeling all too well. He just had his latest ACL surgery.
It is the third time he's torn up his knee playing basketball. "In 2004, I had an ACL reconstruction and the same thing in 2007," he said.
Now a dad, he wants to share his love of the sport with his son Blake. Dr. Tony Nguyen says Danny's prior surgeries failed because older techniques forced doctors to place new tissue in the wrong position, which can limit the knee's ability to rotate.
To repair the ACL, Dr. Nguyen used a piece of tendon from Danny's own knee and a new technique known as anteromedial drilling.
"As a sports surgeon, it's a very big breakthrough," Nguyen says.
The new approach allows surgeons to perfectly place the new tissue. That helps restore the natural anatomy of the knee, giving patients more rotational control.
Nguyen says that while up to 25 percent of traditional reconstructions fail, "with the new technique and using his own tendon, the reported rupture rate is about 4 or 5 percent."
Danny says he is already feeling an improvement, "I'm walking better than I ever had before with my other surgeries."
Patients under the age of 40 are advised to use their own tissue over tissue from a cadaver donor. Studies show ACL's reconstructed with cadaverous tissue are at a significantly higher risk for graft failure in younger patients than they are for older, less active patients.
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