HEALTH

Doctors say new ‘BEAR’ procedure could be future of ACL reconstruction

May 1, 2024, 6:15 PM | Updated: 7:26 pm

SANDY – An ACL tear is one of the most common knee injuries, especially in a state full of skiers.

Doctors are optimistic that a new procedure could be the future of ACL reconstruction.  

Meggan Mosyjowski is a middle school choir teacher and an outdoors enthusiast. In January, she and her husband were taking advantage of the fresh powder at Alta Ski Resort when things took a wrong turn.  

“As I tried to come to a stop, I was uneven,” she said. “And I did twist over downhill toward my right leg and heard and felt that pop sensation.”  

Mosyjowski had a full ACL tear and needed surgery. But as she discussed options with her doctor, she learned about a new procedure. 

The BEAR procedure

“He mentioned the BEAR procedure,” she said. “I had to think about it because it was new and not a lot of research yet.” 

The “Bridge-Enhanced ACL Repair” (BEAR) Implant was approved by the FDA in 2020 and is considered the first technology that enables the ACL to heal itself. 

“The ACL is a ligament that goes from the lower bone, the tibia to the upper bone, the femur. When it tears, it frays and splits apart,” said Dr. Christian Sybrowsky, an orthopedic surgeon for Alta View Sports Medicine at Granger Medical.  

Sybrowsky said a traditional ACL reconstruction includes removing the torn pieces, and then using a graft to rebuild the ligament.  

“The advantage of this new technique is that we don’t need to harvest the graft or take it from a cadaver,” he said. “We take those torn fibers, and we orient them in the right direction and then we wrap it in this collagen implant called the BEAR implant. And that allows the tendon to have an environment where it can, in theory, regrow.” 

First in Utah

Mosyjowski was intrigued by the idea of allowing her body to heal itself. She was the first patient in Utah to undergo this new surgery, with a handful of others since.  

Now, with the help of consistent physical therapy, she’s back on two feet and is already looking forward to next ski season.

“I’m just ready to get back out there and I have confidence that my ACL will be strong and repaired to do the activities that I do,” she said.  

Doctors say the BEAR procedure shows promise. 

“The holy grail of ACL surgery has been getting the ACL to repair itself and it’s been very, very elusive for many decades,” Sybrowsky said. “This is really the frontier and maybe the future of ACL reconstruction.” 

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Doctors say new ‘BEAR’ procedure could be future of ACL reconstruction