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Sports Med Arthrosc. 2011 Mar;19(1):44-9. doi: 10.1097/JSA.0b013e3182095e5d.

The potential for primary repair of the ACL.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


The objective of this work is to assess the feasibility of successfully repairing the torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Two major motivators for developing a new treatment for ACL injuries are the recently reported high rates of osteoarthritis, after conventional ACL reconstruction, and the problem of how to safely treat skeletally immature patients. A key factor in developing such a technique was the identification of the main inhibitor of intrinsic ACL healing-the lack of clot formation between the 2 torn ends of the ligament. A bioactive and biocompatible scaffold, which could be placed in the wound site to enhance cellular proliferation and biosynthesis, was developed. This biomaterial has shown promising functional outcomes in several large animal models of primary repair of partial and complete ACL transection over 4 to 14 weeks, suggesting potential for a successful, future clinical application.

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