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New Research Shows Cadaver Tissue Fails Nearly a Quarter of the Time in Young, Athletic ACL Reconstruction Patients
Date:7/10/2008

Graft Type and Patient Activity Level May Contribute to Failure Rate,

Authors Say

ORLANDO, Fla., July 10 /PRNewswire/ -- With an estimated 80,000 Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears happening each year in the United States (Source: American Journal of Sports Medicine 2006 ; 9:1512-1532), including recently to famed golfer, Tiger Woods, choosing the best replacement ligament for surgery is one key to success. A study released today at the 2008 American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, found that with a failure rate of almost 24 percent, the use of cadaver replacement ligaments may not be the best choice for young, athletic patients.

"Choosing a replacement ligament, whether it comes from a cadaver or the patient's own tissue is a decision that must be made by the surgeon and patient," said co-author Kurre Luber, MD, orthopedic surgery fellow at Mississippi Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center. "This study found a very high failure rate in patients 40 years and younger with high activity levels in ACL-dependent sports like tennis, basketball, soccer and downhill skiing. Certainly, it would be naive to think that only the graft selection led to these failures, we also need to look at surgical technique (single versus double bundle). Better outcome measures also need to be developed. However, this study definitely raises questions about the validity of using cadaver tissue in this patient subgroup."

The ACL is one of the major stabilizing ligaments of the knee. Located in the center of the knee joint, it runs from the thigh bone to the shin bone through the center of the knee. Typically, tearing the ACL occurs with a sudden direction change. To repair a torn ACL, a surgeon replaces the damaged ligament with a new one, either from a cadaver or the patient's own body. Typically, either the patellar-tendon bone or the hamstring tendons is used.
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SOURCE American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
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