Introducing Perc-ACLR

By Chris Centeno, MD /

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perc-aclr-procedureAs many of you know, we pioneered the precise injection of a torn ACL with stem cells, but as we’ve published our results and get ready to publish a second paper, the procedure hasn’t been given a specific name. Recently, I was asked by Orthopedics Today to write one side of a “Point-Counter-Point” where I would argue that most ACL tears now being operated didn’t need surgery; whereas, another physician would argue the other side. This opportunity to get our work out there brought up an interesting problem: all modern procedures have snappy names. In fact, the surgery I would be arguing against has the name ACLR (ACL reconstruction). When I thought about that a bit, it hit me that the name for our procedure should be Perc-ACLR. Let me explain.

ACLR Has Issues

While it is the standard of care for ACL tears that are causing functional disability, ACL reconstruction surgery has its problems. For example, the new artificial ligament goes in at a much steeper angle than the original equipment, making the knee behave differently from a biomechanical standpoint. Also, the knee loses its critical and important position sense. Finally, ACL surgery hasn’t been shown to protect the knee from arthritis or prevent professional athlete’s careers from being shortened, which are some of the reasons many patients pursue the surgery.

Meet Perc-ACLR

Perc-ACLR stands for percutaneous ACL repair. Note that percutaneous denotes an injection without surgery and that “reconstruction” has been replaced with the word “repair.” The last bit is important, because rather than ripping the injured ligament out, drilling holes, and putting in an inferior substitute for the natural ligament, the Perc-ACLR procedure attempts to help the ligament repair itself.

Below is a comparison between the two procedures:

perc-aclr-comparison-to-aclr

Suffice it to say that Perc-ACLR allows you to keep your natural ligament with all of the benefits of that, including the ability to feel the joint position and have normal biomechanics of the knee. Also, it doesn’t damage existing muscles (as has been shown with the tendon graft site with ACLR). Finally, recovery and return to play are much quicker, and the injection procedure has just a fraction of the complication rate of the surgical procedure.

The Upshot? Perc-ACLR is already changing the lives of athletes and weekend warriors worldwide, as we now have an ever-growing group of patients who were told that they needed their ACL removed and replaced with a poor substitute, who instead have gotten to keep their natural ligament. While only about 70% of surgical candidates can be helped with Perc-ACLR, that hopefully represents millions of patients over the next decade who will get to keep their own ACLs!

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7 thoughts on “Introducing Perc-ACLR

  1. Fitu

    How soon before Insurance will cover this percedure is covered?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Fitu,
      Unfortunately, there is no way to know, as it’s a very complex issue. Despite the evidence, the Insurance Industry considers stem cell procedures experimental. So what we can do is continue to do and publish peer reviewed research to the contrary. In addition, surgeries that don’t work being performed and why they continue to be performed also contribute to the problem. : http://www.regenexx.com/does-meniscus-repair-work/ and http://www.regenexx.com/blog/disclosure/

  2. Sam

    Cool name!

  3. Jerry

    I have chronic pain in my shoulder from my days of weight lifting. One shoulder had been repaired (rotator cuff surgery) and I have been told the other needs the same. Insurance doesn’t cover the PRP procedure. Any thoughts on my next move

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Jerry,
      Very important next move is proper diagnosis as then and only then will you know what your options are, as it’s not necessarily the tear in your rotator cuff that’s causing your pain.. While the Procedure is not covered by insurance, if you’re in Network, the exams are. Here are the locations you can get that type of exam: http://www.regenexx.com/find-a-physician/ Please see: http://www.regenexx.com/blog/rotator-cuff-tear-causing-shoulder-pain/ and http://www.regenexx.com/blog/shoulder-instability-recovery-time/

  4. Steven Sarasini

    I completely ruptured my ACL around one year ago (confirmed by MRI), is it too late to undergo this procedure?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Steven,
      No, it’s not too late. We’d need to read the MRI to see if your ACl meets the Candidacy criteria. Please submit the Candidacy form here: https://regenexx.com/regenexx-acl-repair-for-torn-anterior-cruciate-ligament/

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.
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