You don't have to be an athlete to tear your ACL! Just a few months ago, I was a senior in high school playing flag football with friends. I was running to catch the ball, fell to the ground, and felt the pain. I never would have thought the summer of my senior year would be spent on crutches, but with the help of Dr. Louis Rizio, sports medicine, and orthopedic surgeon with Cooperman Barnabas, and the BEAR implant, I was able to enjoy a remarkable summer before my freshman year of college. A few weeks after my surgery, I felt well enough to attend a concert in NYC!
About Dr. Louis Rizio and The BEAR Implant:
A common sports injury is tearing the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). Since it’s one of the key ligaments that help stabilize the knee joint, these tears can be extremely debilitating. Over the last 30 years, treatment has stayed relatively the same - until now. “The goal of this newer procedure is to repair the ACL rather than reconstruct it. The hope is to save your ACL by combining sutures (stitches) and collagen implant to enhance healing. This is a drastic change in ACL management,” says Dr. Louis Rizio.
He believes he was the first doctor to perform this surgery in Northern Jersey since it was approved by the FDA about a year ago. The implant is first soaked in the patient's blood for a few minutes with the idea that this will create growth factors. He says early data shows that muscle strength and recovery may be faster with this technique. “The rehab is a little bit slower in the first four weeks because we're trying to protect the implant, but trauma from the surgical procedure is less because the procedure is less invasive.”
Dr. Rizio adds, “It can also be used for young patients. Pediatric patients are suffering a lot more ACL tears because there are a lot of kids playing sports at higher frequencies and at higher levels. The traditional techniques of reconstructing an ACL could potentially damage their growth plate. With this procedure, that’s less likely, and gives a younger person an opportunity to keep their ACL rather than taking a graft from one of their other tendons to reconstruct the ligament.”
There’s also no age limit. The only restriction with the implant is the timing of the surgery. "Tears diagnosed earlier and treated earlier may improve results. Sports medicine is for anyone who is active." said Dr. Rizio
“Some orthopedic doctors are not surgeons. I am both. I’m a sports medicine-trained surgeon. I’m trained in specific arthroscopic techniques. Your musculoskeletal system is the foundation for everything that you do. It’s the architectural frame of your person. Things like tennis elbow, arthritis… knee replacements that can impact your ability to run, ski, or take a fitness class… things that are affecting your quality of life, these are things that I help with,” said Dr. Rizio.
In just the past few months, I am almost back to my pre-ACL tear self! www.drrizio.com
“The goal is to repair the ACL rather than reconstruct it.”