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ACL Shrinkage


What is it?
This technique has been studied at our center as a less inasive method of treating partial tears of the ACL or the stretched ACL.

Who is eligible?
Patients with partial tears of their ACL diagnosed by MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and verified at surgery are eligible for this study. Biomechanical testing of the ligament is performed. If the ACL has less than 3-4 mm of laxity compared to the opposite knee and if more than 50% of the ligament fibers are still intact, a shortening or shrinking procedure is performed.

How does it work?
The shrinking technique involves the use of a specialized heated probe that provides a measured amount of heat to the stretched ligament fibers and shrinks or shortens them. On a molecular level, the heat causes the microscopic fibers (collagen fibrils) that comprise the ligament to shorten and widen.

What are the results?
Although this procedure is effective at tightening the ACL in the short term, our recent 5-year data has shown that the ACL will ultimately re-stretch, and we now rarely recommend this procedure. (Publication PDF 111KB)


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