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Reconstructive Orthopedics – Options for Fixing ACL

Fellowship-trained sports medicine surgeon Brad Bernardini, M.D., shares the different treatment options available for ACL injuries.

Please see below for the full video transcript.

The most common treatment for an ACL tear is usually surgical. And I say that because most of these injuries occurring in a younger population that's a pretty high demand athlete or at least very active individuals. And what we know about ACLs and the way they leave the knee is that there's a significant amount of excessive motion in the knee unless they're fixed. And that motion over time has been shown to cause a very high likelihood of meniscus tears, which is an important type of cartilage in the knee.

The cushioning cartilage can start to degrade causing localized damage, and eventually, this is gonna cause premature arthritis. So in general, because of those factors, surgical reconstruction of the ligament is what we recommend in a younger active population. Now there's an older subset of patients that do have ACL tears. If those patients are relatively sedentary, then there is an option of nonoperative treatment. Sometimes, we can brace. Sometimes, we can modify activities enough that people can still maintain their quality of life. And in those patients, again, there's a subset that we can potentially treat nonoperatively.

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