‘The Lavender Fertilized ACL surgery’ technique reduces recovery time and pain
This is part of an on-going series of articles highlighting medial research conducted at Marshall Health and the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.
It is a nice fall evening, but the star quarterback on your favorite high school team lies on the ground grabbing his knee. He is taken off the field to get an MRI and then receives a diagnosis feared by athletes – torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). As an orthopaedic surgeon at Marshall Health, it is the only diagnosis I give that brings athletes to tears.
There are more than 100,000 ACL tears in the United States each year. Recent studies show up to one in three patients have a recurrent knee injury of some type. While there have been ACL reconstruction advancements over the years, a stigma surrounds the injury because the typical recovery time can be up to nine months. As a former college athlete, I saw many careers cut short because of an ACL injury. This fueled a passion I brought to Marshall Health to improve ACL reconstruction outcomes.
Four years ago, with the help of several industry experts, I developed a technique published as “The Lavender Fertilized ACL.” The technique is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a mixture of bone marrow concentrate, autograft bone and demineralized bone matrix to fill the tunnels within the knee joint during traditional ACL reconstruction. This technique also utilizes an internal brace reinforcement to improve stability of the healing ACL. We immediately noticed patients were returning to their normal function at rapid paces. Within two years, we were able publish data proving the new technique was safe and did not increase complications.
Next, we began a clinical trial to further evaluate the new technique and document post-surgery functional differences between patients who had a standard ACL reconstruction surgery with those who had The Lavender Fertilized ACL reconstruction surgery. The results were remarkable. At 12-week functional testing comparing the injured knee to the normal knee, the “fertilized ACL” patients were at 80% function versus 30% in the control group. At 80%, patients are ready to functionally begin the process to return to their sport. With traditional ACL surgery, we would not even test patients until six months after surgery. Additional data from our research shows quality-of-life scores one year after surgery were also improved for those who had the fertilized ACL technique surgery.
Along the way, we have travelled across the country to teach other surgeons The Lavender Fertilized ACL surgery technique. We have published more than a dozen articles and released Biologic and Nanoarthroscopic Techniques in Sports Medicine, a textbook providing the most up-to-date techniques for surgeons to use across the world. While other surgeons have adopted our technique, patients from nearly half of the states in the U.S. have chosen Marshall Health to receive their ACL reconstruction surgery in Huntington, West Virginia.
Recently, we were honored to have Timothy Hewett, Ph.D., FACSM, join our team. Dr. Hewett is a world-renowned specialist in preventive and diagnostic biomechanics research surrounding ACL injuries. Our next clinical trial will highlight his expertise as we further study patient biomechanics at early time points after surgery to see if it is possible to move standard return to play up to six or even four-and-a-half months. We look forward to continuing our research and hope to have a long-term impact on improved outcomes for ACL injury reconstructions for all athletes both close to home and around the world.
This article appeared in the November 6, 2022, edition of the Herald Dispatch.
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