Encouraging evidence in support of ACL preservation

We are delighted to update with the major findings so far from a study we posted earlier at the start of 2020.

It involved research that was being carried out by Dr William Wilson who was assessing the clinical and biomechanical outcomes of sports patients recovering from serious knee injuries involving the cruciate ligament.

Dr Wilson is the team doctor for the Northern Ireland Women’s Football Team, he is also an elite level referee and has a particular interest in sports surgery. He designed a rigorous testing protocol which included replicating a series of functional tasks, performed in the lab by recovering athletes, as if they were partaking in sport.

The study took place at the University of Strathclyde – Human Performance Lab in Glasgow and was overseen by Biomedical Engineers Dr Matthew Banger and Dr Philip Riches.

Taking part in the particular session we filmed was Lauren Perry, goalkeeper with the Northern Ireland national team, who had her ACL repaired with the InternalBrace by Professor Mackay a year and a half prior to this session.

Results from the research so far show that:

1) Proprioceptive defects seen following ACL reconstruction are not found after augmented ACL repair surgery, with potential for improved patient outcomes.

2) ACL repair patients performed as well as, or better in PROMs, stability, and hop tests than matched patients following ACL reconstruction.

3) Despite early surgical intervention for ACL repair, the range of movement was not reduced, as was found for reconstruction. Concerns regarding arthrofibrosis in acute surgery for ACL tears leading to chronic knee stiffness are not supported by this study.

4) Hamstring weakness and asymmetry seen following ACL reconstruction is not evident following augmented primary ACL repair – with potentially improved patient outcomes.

This research is very encouraging evidence in support of ACL preservation. Dr Wilson will be publishing further gait analysis from this study in the following weeks – we will bring you this.

Our thanks as ever to our former patients for agreeing to take part in this research programme.

The video below shows the testing in action.