Can An ACL Tear Heal Without Surgery?
“Yes,” — According to Dr. Gregory Montalbano, Orthopedic Surgeon at iOrtho and NYU School of Medicine Faculty Member.
“In a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the use of a cross bracing protocol alone provided reasonably good results with 90% of knees showing some evidence of healing at 3 months on repeat MRI testing. Also, 100% of patients with a Grade 1 sprain had a normal knee stability exam and 92% returned to pre-injury sports compared to a grade 2-3 sprain where those numbers dropped to 40% and 64%, respectively.”
“The challenge with this choice of treatment is maintaining the brace and limiting function over the 6 weeks that’s required to achieve healing. Also, the statistical chance of success drops off with higher grade sprains so this also needs to be considered by the surgeon and patient. Despite these challenges I think it remains a viable option for younger people who are better able to compensate when using crutches and a brace and certainly for those that have lower grade sprains.”
“Another option available for the higher grade sprains (Grade 2-3) that allows the ACL to heal naturally and also reduces the need for bracing and limitations of activity is the BEAR procedure (Bridge Enhanced ACL Repair). This is a procedure that involves using a minimally invasive technique for putting sutures into the torn ACL and placing a blood soaked implant made of Bovine Collagen around the torn ACL to improve the biology of healing. This novel technique has an up to 80% success rate for high grade sprains.”
Gregory Montalbano, MD was the first in the community to perform this procedure with the technology coming out of Boston Children’s Hospital. Becker’s Spine Review highlighted the surgeon; “There are advantages to restoring the ACL naturally by creating an environment for healing instead of removing it and replacing it with a graft,” the orthopedic surgeon who used BEAR technology for the first time in June of 2022 mentioned. “Traditional ACL reconstruction has graft site morbidity, the potential for future knee pain and never actually restores the natural pre-injury kinematics to the joint, setting a context for future knee problems.”
“Today, there are certainly more innovative options available for treating ACL injury compared to the traditional techniques of the past which are reconstructive and are not able to restore normal anatomy.”
iOrtho is a multi-specialty musculoskeletal healthcare practice that provides patients with new technologies and innovative procedures designed to make state-of-the-art treatments readily available while maximizing outcomes. For people with active lifestyles and/or physical job requirements, iOrtho is the comprehensive single-source solution for all orthopedic needs; trauma, arthritis, sports, spine- minimally invasive procedures, computer navigated robotic procedures, custom implants, restorative treatments including hyaluronate acid, plasma, stem cell and vitamin infusion therapy, services are covered by all major insurances.