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A few weeks out of surgery. Looks like Dr. Frankenstein has had his hands on me!



Surgery: Yes, no? Options?

After tearing an ACL the injured individual has some important questions ahead of him/her.
Curious where it all started? Check out the history of ACL Surgery!

~ Are there options other than surgery that can effectively heal my torn ligament?
~ If not, which type of surgery should I pursue?
~ How long will the surgery be?
~ Will I miss much work?


Some of these questions are reasonably easy to answer, while others have no clear cut answers. The best I can do is tell you what I did, and how it affected me.

Are there options other than surgery that can effectively heal my torn ligament?
After tearing my ACL, I can't say I was overjoyed at the thought of going under the knife. My lack of enthusiasm prompted me to do a bit of research on what other options were out there. While at an appointment for me knee, I asked my physician if there were any treatments other than surgery. Since my ACL was partially torn (as opposed to a complete tear) I had some options:
~ No surgery, just physical therapy to keep the muscles around the knee strengthened.

~ Prolotherapy

Physical Therapy alone

To start, I asked which of the options he would recommend. He pointed me to physical therapy due to the nature of my ACL injury (partial tear), and said that once reasonably strengthened, I could return to athletic activity. A prognosis such as this sounded great due to the athletics that I still wanted to partake in. After some strengthening, I returned to sports (basketball, softball), to which my knee responded with frequent catching, and giving out. I returned to my physician and was then pointed in the direction of prolotherapy.

After mentioning this option, my physican strongly urged me to go home and do more research before deciding to proceed with this treatment. Prolotherapy (as defined by www.prolotherapy.com) "uses a dextrose (sugar water) solution, which is injected into the ligament or tendon where it attaches to the bone. This causes a localized inflammation in these weak areas which then increases the blood supply and flow of nutrients and stimulates the tissue to repair itself." To me, this sounded a litte bit odd, as I was essentially going to be injected with sugar (no thanks doc, I'm sweet enough!). While researching, I found that this treatment had been in practice since the late 1930's with positive results. The research gave me an optimistic outlook on using prolotherapy to heal my tendon. Six months, and seven injections later my knee was feeling pretty good. My physician scheduled me for a post-prolo MRI to see the effects of the treatment. Unfortunately, the prolotherapy had not stimulated any regrowth in my ACL. For this reason, I would not recommend this treatment, but would like to again state that treatments work differently for everyone; what didn't work for me may work for you. And, to prolotherapy's credit, some of the chronic pain I was experiencing associated with my injury was greatly relieved. ...CONTINUED ON PAGE 2