Getting ACL tears to heal themselves

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Orthopedic surgeon Martha Murray reports that a collagen gel enriched with blood platelets can stimulate natural healing of a partial anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. Murray and colleagues at Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital Boston found the gel can help regenerate the knee ligament and restore mechanical strength. Their findings are preliminary, but could lead to a shift away from thinking that the ACL has to be completely replaced after an injury, says Murray. More than 100,000 Americans a year suffer from the knee injury.

The research is published in the April 2006 Journal of Orthopaedic Research. The current study was funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the National Football League, the Orthopedic Research and Education Foundation and the Orthopaedic Foundation of Children’s Hospital Boston.