Dr. Owens Discusses Benefits of BEAR ACL repair

University Orthopedics is one of six clinical trial sites in the country, and the only one in New England, to see if a less invasive procedure using what’s called a Bridge-Enhanced ACL Restoration (BEAR) Implant is more beneficial than traditional ACL surgery.

Dr. Brett Owens, a surgeon at UOI and principal investigator of the ongoing trial, spoke with Channel 12 reporter Alexandra Leslie about the groundbreaking procedure.


Every year, approximately 400,000 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries occur. ACL reconstruction surgery is one of the most common orthopedic procedures in the United States. Unlike other ligaments, the ends of a torn ACL do not reconnect naturally. During an ACL reconstruction, an orthopedic surgeon removes the ends of the torn ACL and replaces them with a graft, usually taken from either the patient’s patellar or the hamstring tendon. Although most patients can return to sports, the ACL re-tear rate can be as high as 20 percent for teens. Up to 80 percent of patients develop arthritis 15 to 20 years after surgery.

The bridge-enhanced ACL restoration (BEAR®), uses stitches and a bridging scaffold (a sponge injected with the patient’s blood) to stimulate healing of the torn ACL. The procedure has been performed in preclinical models and over 100 patients with excellent results. The goal of the current study is to determine if this new technique, which repairs the torn ACL is comparable to the patellar tendon ACL reconstruction surgery.

Dr. Paul Fadale, Dr. Michael Hulstyn, and Dr. Owens –, all University Orthopedics surgeons – are the only providers in the region performing the procedure.

Individuals who have recently suffered an ACL injury and are between the ages of 18 and 55 may be candidates to participate in the BEAR-MOON trial. To learn more about the BEARMOON trial or schedule an appointment with a BEAR-MOON trial physician, please email BEAR.TRIAL@LIFESPAN.ORG or call 1-401-649-1906. You can also learn more about this clinical trial and the BEAR ACL restoration procedure at www.bearmoon.org.