Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute (AOSMI) is the first in Monmouth County to perform the BEAR® (Bridge-Enhanced ACL Repair/Restoration) Implant for treatment of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, one of the most common knee injuries in the U.S. The BEAR Implant is the first medical advancement to enable the body to heal its own torn ACL. This innovative approach is a change in basic assumptions from the current standard of care – reconstruction that replaces the ACL with a graft – and is the first innovation in ACL tear treatment in more than 30 years.
AOSMI completed the first official procedure on November 15, 2022. Michael J. Greller, MD, MBA, CPE, FAAOS, a Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon who is Fellowship-trained in Sports Medicine led the procedure. He was assisted by Garret L. Sobol, MD, Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon who is also Fellowship-trained in Sports Medicine.
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.
“There are a number of advantages to restoring a ligament instead of replacing it, and the BEAR Implant is an exciting medical technology that is the first to clinically demonstrate that it enables healing of the patient’s torn ACL while maintaining the natural knee anatomy,” said Dr. Greller “Encouraging clinical studies have shown faster recovery of muscle strength and higher patient satisfaction with regard to readiness to return to sport than traditional ACL reconstruction – the standard of care today.”
Current surgical options for ACL repair include direct repair, in which the surgeon sutures the ligament back to the bone, and reconstruction, in which 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).
The BEAR Implant, positioned on sutures, 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. As the ACL heals, the BEAR Implant is resorbed by the body, within approximately eight weeks.
The benefits of the BEAR Implant are that it restores the torn ACL quality and size similar to the non-injured ACL, it’s a simple outpatient procedure, there’s no need for grafts, there’s faster recovery of muscle strength, and there’s higher patient satisfaction with being ready to return to sports.
Following the BEAR Implant, patients are directed to follow the BEAR Implant physical therapy program. The BEAR Implant has the same potential medical and 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. The BEAR Implant is for skeletally mature patients at least 14 years of age with a complete rupture of the ACL, as confirmed by MRI. Patients must have an ACL stump attached to the tibia to construct the repair. The BEAR device must be implanted within 50 days of injury.
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