This study is a re-exploration of an old concept, but with the benefit of new materials and understanding.
As you can see, we are in the process of writing that up and publishing it. I am so far astounded and delighted at how well the patients have done and how quickly they’ve recovered. If this works – and to date we’ve only had one failure in close to 30 patients who have undergone this (both paediatric and adult) – and patients are able to get back to full normal activity within 4 to 5 months then this is very different from a standard ACL reconstruction.
With regards to ACL surgery we’ve recently come up with a fantastic new technique to repair - rather than reconstruct - the ACL.
So normally what we do is we take out the torn ACL and put in a so-called graft which is either from the patient’s own tissue or borrowed tissue and that is the new ACL. And that is the way the surgery has been carried out for the last 2 decades.
More recently we have looked once more at actually repairing the tissue that’s there, and this actually works extremely well in children. So I’ve had a number of successes in a 5 year old, 6 year old and 7 year old - tiny little children - where I’ve carried out this innovative technique.
It’s very exciting for children but also this is something that we are now doing for adults on a regular basis. If the patient is suitable and we have good tissue to work with – so it really has to be in that early phase after the injury – we can stitch that tissue back to where it came from and repair rather than reconstruct the ligament. If this works within 12 to 16 weeks the patients have regained full normal function and are strong enough to get back to sport - which is a real breakthrough and very exciting!