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Why an ACL Tear Doesn't Mean You'll Never Play a Sport Again

As an athlete, you dedicate yourself to strength training and conditioning, and spend countless hours practicing proper technique for two reasons: to excel in your sport and to avoid injury. Some injuries sideline you for a while, others become chronic instabilities, and some are career-ending tragedies. Once, a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) was enough to ruin your athletic plans and crush your dreams. 

Not anymore. With the advent of stem cell therapy, ACL injuries can be repaired, returning your knee to full functionality, so you can run, kick, jump, and even pivot again. Dr. Wade McKenna at McKenna Orthopedics & Biologics leads the field in this ground-breaking technology and has performed thousands of successful procedures on competitive athletes. 

ACL injuries through the years

Your ACL is one of the ligaments in your knee, and its primary job is to keep your shin from slipping forward beyond your thigh bone. It also keeps your knee stable when you stop and pivot, which happens a lot in basketball, soccer, football, and several other sports. If you make one of these moves under the right (or wrong) circumstances, you can tear your ACL and end up with a painful, unstable knee.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, treatment for this injury was in its infancy. Athletes who continued to compete despite their ACL injury inevitably ended up damaging their meniscus as well, and eventually, arthritis set in.

In the 1970s, ACL surgery replaced the torn portion of the ligament with a synthetic material, and later, doctors began replacing the whole ligament with a grafted tendon.

Arthroscopic surgery, which is much less invasive than traditional open surgery, hit the scene in the 1980s and allowed surgeons to repair torn ACLs, reduce trauma and recovery time, and get athletes back in the game more quickly.

Today, arthroscopic surgery still remains the gold standard for competitive athletes who want to continue at the same intensity as prior to their injury, and Dr. McKenna has extensive experience with this procedure.

ACL surgery and regenerative medicine: The dynamic duo

If left untreated, your ACL may self-repair to a certain extent, and if you have a minor tear, surgery may not be necessary. Dr. McKenna weighs all the factors in your case, including your age, athletic goals, your sport, and other conditions that may complicate a nonsurgical approach, such as a meniscus tear. 

If conservative treatments, like physical therapy and bracing, can’t get you back in playing shape, then surgery may be the best option for you.

Often, Dr. McKenna recommends combining your surgical procedure with stem cell therapy, a form of regenerative medicine. This branch of medicine focuses on repairing damaged tissues and organs by regenerating the cells within them. In the case of your torn ACL, this treatment can accelerate the complete healing of your injury and your surgical wound.

The concept behind stem cell therapy is fairly simple: supply damaged tissue with new cells to aid healing. In many instances, your body does this naturally, such as when you cut your skin. But inside your knee joint where blood flow is minimal, those damaged tissues can’t regenerate without help.

Stem cells are your body’s raw building materials, and they can transform into any type of cell you need. So when Dr. McKenna injects them into your knee, they morph into ACL cells and go to work repairing your ligament.

Stem cell therapy the McKenna way

Regenerative medicine is an emerging field and is becoming more mainstream as the impressive results compel physicians and patients to seek it out. But Dr. McKenna has been at the forefront of this movement for many years, and has perfected the technique and the science. In fact, he’s patented an instrument called BioMac™, designed to extract your body’s stem cells from your bone marrow. His device has become a standard tool in the industry. 

Your own stem cells by themselves have amazing power to heal, but Dr. McKenna mixes them with the amniotic tissue of a full-term baby with the consent of the mother to boost the effectiveness of your treatment dramatically.

The combination provides 60 times the prostaglandins than your stem cells alone contain. Prostaglandins are hormones your body produces when it’s injured to make your blood clot, control inflammation, and promote healing. Dr. McKenna’s technique also introduces more than 100 growth factors into your injured knee to speed up healing and reduce pain and inflammation.

To find out more about whether you’re a candidate for this innovative procedure on your injured ACL, call us either in Decatur or Trophy Club, Texas to schedule a consultation with our ACL expert, Dr. Wade McKenna, or book your appointment online.

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