Avoiding Surgery for an ACL Tear

By Chris Centeno, MD /

Receive a Regenexx® Patient Info Packet by email and learn why it's a superior regenerative solution.

avoiding surgery for an ACL tear

Avoiding surgery for an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear should be a top priority in 2017. Why? We’re on the brink of a dramatic change in how we treat these injuries and, literally, getting surgery for this problem could put you in the “old technology” group. How dramatic will this change be? Most surgeries are about to go away altogether, instead being replaced by a precise injection into the ligament.

The Perc-ACLR Procedure

We invented orthopedic stem cell injections, and, likewise, we’ve invented other procedures as well that were never contemplated before. We spent years figuring out the techniques needed to effectively inject all parts of the ACL. We call this a perc-ACLR procedure which stands for percutaneous ACL repair procedure.

Right now, when we inject high-dose bone marrow stem cells into the right patients and into the right spots using C-arm fluoroscopy, about 70% of the patients who would currently be offered surgery don’t need the procedure. In addition, we see good evidence of healing in the ligament on postinjection MRIs. Hence, you can see why this procedure could be the game changer that makes most ACL surgery obsolete.

Why Would You Want to Avoid Surgery?

So why would you want to avoid invasive ACL surgery and consider the nonsurgical perc-ACLR procedure? Research has shown that ACL surgery doesn’t prevent arthritis and is ineffective. In athlete patients, for example, those who didn’t have ACL surgery are more able to return to sports after one year than those who did have the surgery. These alone may be good reasons to avoid surgery; however, there are many more:

Anna’s Story

Anna is an active mother of four-years-old twins. Having had four-year-old twins at one point, I understand that when you’re alone with them, the best you can do is to play “zone coverage” as “man to man” is out the window. So active is an understatement.

This 40-year-old tore her ACL playing volleyball. With four-year-old twins, she didn’t feel like she could take the time to undergo surgery. Being laid up on crutches or not able to move quickly for weeks, ha! Anyone who has been a mom of young and mobile twins knows how unrealistic that scenario looks. Hence, she opted for our perc-ACLR procedure as it had much less downtime.

The image on the left shows a completely blown-out ACL. What’s left of the ligament is shown inside the yellow arrow heads. In fact, there are so few organized fibers left that we didn’t think this patient was a good candidate for this procedure, but she really wanted to avoid surgery, so we let her proceed. The image on the right shows the six-month follow-up. The much more normal-appearing ACL is inside the green arrow heads. She’s also doing well as far far as pain and function and is back to all activities.

The upshot? This is one of the more amazing results we’ve seen comparing the before and after MRIs. However, realize that to get these results, you must have a physician who has been trained to precisely inject the high-dose stem cells into the ACL. This cannot be done well using ultrasound and requires fluoroscopy to be done correctly every time. The only training in existence right now is through the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation. So if someone tells you they can do this injection without having gone through that testing, it will be hit or miss if they can produce this kind of result.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.