Although it’s most often associated with athletes, a knee injury involving the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) can happen to just about anyone who leads an active lifestyle. The most common treatment for an ACL injury is reconstructive surgery followed by months of rehabilitation—but a new innovation from Naples-based medical device developer Arthrex can promote surgical repair of an injured ACL, instead of reconstruction. Justin Boyle, Arthrex senior product manager, knee arthroscopy, said that innovation, the SwiveLock ACL Repair Kit, could be a game-changer for both patients and surgeons.
“The SwiveLock ACL Repair Kit is the first and only FDA-cleared surgical kit for the primary repair of certain types of anterior cruciate ligament tears,” Boyle says. “For a surgeon, the bene ts include having a comprehensive, conveniently packaged solution with all of the surgical products needed for the procedure. This helps standardize the procedure and reduces the need for a surgeon to individually assemble the different products needed to perform an ACL primary repair.”
One of four ligaments that helps keep the knee stable, ACL tears have traditionally been treated via reconstructive surgery, recreating the damaged ligament with a tissue graft. However, depending on what area of the ACL is torn, the quality of the remaining ACL tissue or other criteria, a surgeon may opt for a primary repair. And that, Boyle says, is when the SwiveLock ACL Repair Kit can provide a less invasive, arthroscopic treatment option to some patients.
“[Surgical ACL reconstruction] is a more invasive procedure and typically has a longer period of recovery when compared to repairing the native anterior cruciate ligament. The ACL primary repair procedure o ers a fully arthroscopic, more minimally invasive and patient-friendly surgical option for certain types of tears when compared to traditional reconstruction techniques,” Boyle says. “In a repair, the native ACL is preserved and reattached to the femur using high-strength sutures and an implantable device that secures the sutures, typically an anchor or button. The SwiveLock ACL Repair Kit bene ts the repair procedure because it provides an all-in-one package.”
Though Boyle cautioned that the Arthrex kit is primarily for repairing injuries when the ACL is torn from the femur, the upside is that it expands treatment options for patients, depending on their individual needs and recovery goals. And by opening more opportunities for repair instead of reconstruction, the SwiveLock can help more patients recover faster and with less pain.
“The kit is indicated for use in proximal ACL tears (tears o the femur), which results in roughly 16% of all ACL tears. In biomechanical testing, this repair technique has been shown to provide comparable knee stability to ACL reconstruction techniques with bone-patellar tendon-bone (BTB) autografts,” Boyle says. “Clinically, preserving the native ligament with an ACL repair technique has shown encouraging outcomes with a higher potential for early healing, and better functional outcomes compared to reconstruction surgery.”