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New technique for cruciate ligament operations at Speising Orthopaedic Hospital

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(APA/Vienna, 16 December 2016) Surgeons at Speising Orthopaedic Hospital in Vienna have developed a new method for performing operations to repair tears in the anterior cruciate ligament. This involves using a tendon that stretches from the upper thigh to the tibia and – and this is the new part – remains attached to the tibia and therefore supplied with blood and only has to be attached as the other "end".

The current procedure is to remove a strip of patellar tendon or femoral tendon and then graft it back in again. That means that the blood supply to it is interrupted. "It takes between one and three years before the tendon becomes a ligament of equivalent strength," explains Michael Enekel, Head of the specialist Reconstructive Knee Surgery and Sports Orthopaedics team, speaking at a press conference in Vienna.This lengthy period could be shortened by this new method. "A good blood supply means good recovery," says Patrick Weninger, trauma surgeon in the hospital's sports team. He first described the modified technique with a group at MedUni Vienna (Division of Anatomy, Project Leader: Lena Hirtler). This new method should speed up the healing process. However, the surgeons are not yet able to say by how much this will reduce the time it takes for the tendon to become a ligament, because the technique is not going to be used on patients until the first quarter of next year.Christian Wurnig, Head of the Speisinger Sports Orthopaedics Division, expects the new technique to minimise the risk for patients, since the cruciate ligament graft only has to be attached at one point. "It means that fixation to the tibia is no longer necessary," says the expert. And this fixation process is extremely difficult, because the success of the operation essentially depends upon the drill holes being exactly in the anatomically correct position.Every year, 400 cruciate ligament operations are performed in Speising Orthopaedic Hospital. Experience has shown that Winter is the peak accident season. "Ski season is knee season" says Wurnig. According to figures from the KFV (Austrian Road Safety Board), nearly 26,000 skiers and snowboarders had to be treated in hospital as a result of accidents in 2015. Knee injuries accounted for one third of these cases.(APA/km/wh)

Service: Indian Journal of Orthopaedics
The inferior medial genicular artery and its vascularization of the pes anserinus superficialis: A cadaveric study
Lena Hirtler, Manuel Ederer, Mike Faber, Patrick Weninger