The 2017 meeting in Linz took place a week ago. This is an annual event that Jürgen Barthofer and his colleague Andreas Schneiderbauer set up three years ago. This is the third time I have been lucky enough to be invited to speak.
The theme for the meeting was ACL surgery and what is new. It was an excellent programme with live surgery. Jürgen performed a combined revision ACL reconstruction with a lateral tenodesis. This obviously is technically challenging even as a primary (first time) procedure, but to do a revision - live - was really pushing the boundaries of live surgery. And Jürgen and his partner, Andreas, pulled it off beautifully.
They used a peroneus longus allograft which they tripled, and then it was great to see my compression tube system being used, showing how the graft was compressed from an initial 10.5mm diameter down to 9mm such that the tunnels were as small as they needed to be and the tissue was as compact as it could be made. The beauty of compression is that the graft then expands afterwards and therefore fits into the sockets more snugly which will enhance healing.
He also took one of my other concepts of using a FiberTape to reinforce the graft, and demonstrated this beautifully, and fixed - as we always do - with a SwiveLock anchor device separately to the main fixation for the graft once the graft had been secured.
For the lateral tenodesis - rather than doing an anterolateral ligament reconstruction and using a separate graft - they used an alternative, which is also very effective. They took a strip of iliotibial band (ITB) and - leaving it attached distally - fixed the proximal end into the side of the femur to work as a tenodesis on the lateral side of the knee. Again Jurgen and Andreas did a beautiful job of demonstrating the carrying out of this procedure.
It was wonderful to see my tubes in action and I was delighted to see that now they are being adopted globally by many surgeons. I think that compression tubes are going to play an important part in making ACL surgery less invasive and more successful in terms of healing as the grafts will expand.I spoke about ACL repair and gave an overview and presented both my adult and paediatric experience and it was a delight to be invited back to this wonderful course and to be part of the esteemed faculty.
My own talk was based around the use of FiberTape, and I gave an update on the history and where we are with FiberTape in terms of reinforcement and also repair, and I presented my results for both. As always there was a huge interest in our paediatric experience and I presented the cases that we have done. I am still happy to report that five years out we are still yet to have a failure in this interesting and challenging group of patients that we treat.It was a great event and again I felt very privileged to be part of the faculty.