Georgina is an 18 year old who had a revolutionary ACL repair and is back playing in the England adult lacrosse team and did so at four months after surgery.
It usually takes a year to get to the point where it is safe to play that kind of sport. Georgina was in the senior GB team when she came to see me with her knee injury. As an elite level lacrosse player she and her parents were particularly concerned, and we discussed the pros and cons of ACL repair versus reconstruction. Both her and her parents were keen to go down the route of repair.
I explained that with the repair we use the patient's own tissue and stitch this back to the origin from where it has torn and reinforce this with 2 mm FibreTape.To do this we only need to make 3 mm tunnels and patient obviously gets to keep their own ACL.
We don't need to take any of the patient's own tissue for reconstruction which is what we would have to do if we were going down that route.
Georgina understood that she was very high risk for failure and in fact in her age group the failure rate is as high as 30%. With a repair as opposed to a reconstruction if she did sustain a further injury she would still have her own tissue available for a second procedure, so by doing the repair we wouldn't be burning any bridges.
One of the other big advantages is that with the repair technique, if it's successful, the patient can return as Georgina did to full contact sport at four months as opposed to having to wait 9 to 12 months which is the case with the reconstruction.
I'm delighted to say that the surgery went well and the very successful repair did indeed get Georgina back at four months training in the England squad and competing.This is a great innovation, I believe, in the management of both paediatric and adult ACL injuries and I'm sure more and more patients are going to be asking for this type of procedure in the future.