UOI Surgeons Helping Pioneer New Fix for Torn ACLs

According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 torn ACL incidents every year.

Kathleen Fagnant is one of those people who’s experienced this excruciating injury – not once but twice.

The first time in 2008, she underwent a patellar operation to fix her left knee. Years later, as is common with the procedure, she ended up with arthritis.

More recently, the gym teacher said she injured her right knee.

“I was teaching class, playing handball with one of the kids, and the same exact thing happened,” she told The Providence Journal. “My foot planted, my body kept going. My knee blew out and I knew right away.

But this time, the treatment was different.

Kathleen was a candidate for Bridge-Enhanced ACL Repair, or BEAR, implant, a scaffold made from cattle collagen. The procedure allows the ACL to regrow and heal on its own, reducing the chances of arthritis down the road.

University Orthopedics is one of only six sites in the country and the only one in the northeast participating in the study of the less invasive ACL repair option. University Orthopedics surgeons Paul Fadale, MD; Michael Hulstyn, MD; and Brett Owens, MD were involved in the FDA Trial for BEAR® and are the only surgeons in Rhode Island to have performed the procedure.

“Patients love the procedure,” said Dr. Owens. “If you’re performing a [gold standard] reconstruction, half of the pain is from harvesting a graft. And so, from the get-go, they have less pain.”

“I think it’s a great way to do this surgery,” Kathleen told the paper. “If you don’t have to take another piece of your body or connect with a cadaver, and it can grow on its own and be just as healthy as it was before you blew it out, I just think you’re at an advantage there.”

University Orthopedics is currently enrolling patients for the randomized clinical phase of the trial. For more information, click here »