New surgical technique for ACL tears

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - One of the most common knee injuries, especially in active people, is an ACL tear. In this Healthcast, we've got the scoop on a new surgical technique improving the performance of patients with this injury.

When Karen Priola was thrown off a horse seven years ago, she knew she injured her knee badly.  "It felt like my knee had actually gone backwards and it swoll, but I didn't see anybody about it," says Karen, "so I just kind of fought through it for seven years."

Anthony Verret had a similar story when he felt his knee pop while going through game warden academy two years ago. Both Karen and Anthony lived with unstable knees until the pain and buckling was too much.  "He said if you keep on continuing what you're doing," says Anthony, "you're going to have arthritis or you could tear your meniscus."

Dr. David Drez, Jr. is the Director of Sports Medicine at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital and McNeese State University. He says one of the most common injuries he sees involving the knee joint is a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, one of four ligaments that keeps the knee stable.

For years, the traditional means of reconstructing the ACL involved an incision on the front of the knee, along with two to three small incisions around the knee - but over the past few months, Dr. Drez has been perfecting a newer, minimally invasive surgery.  "We're able to do what's called an all-inside ACL reconstruction," says Dr. Drez, "we use very small holes and different devices that stabilize the knee.  Then we do what's called a double bundle ACL reconstruction."

This double bundle keeps the knee more stable than the traditional surgical technique, only targeting the ACL. In comparing Karen's scars - who had the traditional surgery - next to Anthony's scars - with the new technique, you can see the difference in incisions.

Dr. Drez says, "We're making a small incision on the backside of the knee.  You can harvest the tendons more easily and you also won't have the anterior scar."

Since Dr. Drez began performing this surgery two months ago, he says he has seen great results.

*If you want to find out more about ACL reconstruction techniques, join Dr. Drez next Friday, April 24th for a free seminar at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. For more information or to reserve your seat, call 494-2936.