Breakthrough Technology Enables Injured ACL to Heal

Breakthrough Technology Enables Injured ACL to Heal
BEAR® Implant First New Innovation in ACL Tear Treatment in 30+ Years

By Dr. Jonathan Hersch

Every year, approximately 400,000 ACL injuries occur in the U.S. A torn ACL does not heal without treatment, resulting in ACL reconstruction being one of the most common orthopedic procedures in the U.S. Yet the procedure has drawbacks; some people are unable to return to the same level of daily activities or sports.

Historically, orthopedic surgeons have had limited options in treating a torn ACL. With ACL reconstruction, today’s standard of care, the surgeon completely removes the remaining torn ACL and reconstructs it with either a tendon from the patient’s own leg (called an autograft) or a deceased donor (called an allograft).

What is BEAR?

At Orthopaedic Surgical Associates, we are now offering a new technology called the BEAR® Implant. The BEAR Implant is the first medical advancement granted approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that enables the body to heal its own torn ACL. This new approach is a paradigm shift from ACL reconstruction and is the first innovation in ACL tear treatment in more than 30 years. Unlike reconstruction, the BEAR Implant does not require a second surgical wound site to remove a healthy tendon from another part of the leg or the use of a donor tendon.

What does the procedure entail?

The BEAR Implant acts as a bridge to help ends of the torn ACL heal together. The surgeon injects a small amount of the patient’s own blood into the implant and inserts it between the torn ends of the ACL in a minimally invasive procedure. The combination of the BEAR Implant and the patient’s blood enables the body to heal the torn ends of the ACL back together while maintaining the ACL’s original attachments to the femur and tibia


What is the benefit of the BEAR implant?

As the ACL heals, the BEAR Implant is resorbed by the body, within approximately eight weeks. Preserving a patient’s native ACL instead of replacing it with a graft has long been a goal of surgeons, as there are a number of advantages to restoring a ligament instead of replacing it. First, ACL reconstruction has an ACL re-tear rate as high as 20% for teens and as high as 9% for adults. And, following ACL reconstruction, a large number of athletes (more than 55%) can’t return to the same level of sport.

As with any surgery, ACL reconstruction has certain risks. Depending on the type of graft used, there can also be clinical complications. About half of people who receive patellar tendon grafts experience pain while kneeling, and those who receive hamstring grafts have persistent weakness – as much as a 50% deficit at two years. In addition, if the ACL is re-injured, revisions with the BEAR Implant are easier.

Revisions of traditional ACL reconstruction can be complicated and can require multiple surgeries. Clinical studies have demonstrated that the BEAR Implant restores torn ACL quality and size similar to a patient’s non-injured ACL. Compared with autograft ACL reconstruction, it also has shown faster recovery of muscle strength and higher patient satisfaction with regard to readiness to return to sport.

Patients should discuss their individual symptoms, diagnosis and treatment with their surgeon. The BEAR Implant has the same potential medical/surgical complications as other orthopedic surgical procedures, including ACL reconstruction. These include the risk of re-tear, infection, knee pain, meniscus injury and limited range of motion.

Who is the procedure for?

If you are at least 14 years of age, have a complete rupture of the ACL (as confirmed by MRI) and can undergo the surgery within 50 days of the injury, call 561-742- 3578 to schedule a consultation with Dr Hersch to see if you might be a good candidate for the BEAR Implant.


Bench-to-Bedside: Bridge-Enhanced Anterior Cruciate Ligament Repair (PDF) Gabriel S. Perrone, Benedikt L. Proffen, Ata M. Kiapour, Jakob T. Sieker, Braden C. Fleming, Martha M. Murray

Original Article:

Bridge-Enhanced ACL Repair - Two-Year Results of the First-in-Human Study

Martha M. Murray,* MD, Leslie A. Kalish, ScD, Braden C. Fleming, PhD, BEAR Trial Team, Benedikt L. Proffen, MD, Kirsten Ecklund, MD, Dennis E. Kramer, MD, Yi-Meng Yen, MD, PhD, and Lyle J. Micheli, MD

Original Article:

Bridge-Enhanced Anterior Cruciate Ligament Repair Is Not Inferior to Autograft Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction at 2 Years

Martha M. Murray,* MD, Braden C. Fleming, PhD, Gary J. Badger, MS, The BEAR Trial

Team, Dennis E. Kramer, MD, Lyle J. Micheli, MD, and Yi-Meng Yen, MD, PhD

Original Article:


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