Over the past ten years I have developed a new treatment for ACL tears using stem cells as a sole treatment. To date, I havecompleted 233 fully torn ACL’s cases. The treatment that I have developed is signifyingly less invasive, less painful, improved recovery and a procedure that treats secondary arthritis, regenerates the damaged articular cartilage and regenerates the torn medial meniscus. Other surgical treatments do not address these very important issues and only keep the instability of the knee joint. Today the most common recommendation given to clients to treat ACL tears is a surgical procedure known as a TPLO. This procedure is very invasive procedure which uses a bone saw to make semicircular cut fracturing through the top of the lower leg bone known as the tibia, The tibia is then rotated using and a bone plate is screwed into place to keep the upper thigh bone known as the femur from moving forward over the tibia. The TPLO surgery was developed in 1993 by Dr’s Barclay Slocum and Theresa Devine. Recent published data for the TPLO surgery showed up to a 37% complication rate from this procedure. These complications include bone infections, fractures of the tibia, tears of the medical meniscus, fractures of the screws holding the bone plate in place and bone cancer at the plate site. The procedure is a considered a very aggressive, painful surgery for the patient. Following this surgery patients are restricted to a crate or room restriction with or without sedating the patient during their recovery period in an effort to lessen these complications In contrast to this activity restriction, patients who have stem cell treatment are restricted to leash walks only for 8-16 weeks. Another important difference between surgical correction and stem cell treatment is it is known that all of patients having surgical procedures will all return within a few years with severe arthritis, pain and lameness. To date, I have not had any patients receiving stem cell treatments return for any issues including arthritis. The stem cell procedure is a simple surgical procedure which is to make an approximately 2-inch incision just below the breastbone collect fat. It is from this fat that the stem cells are harvested in our in-house stem cell lab. Once the cells are harvested, they are suspended in the patients activated platelet rich plasma (PRP) activated and injected into the affected knee. This procedure is less invasive than doing a spay procedure. The dog’s surgical recovery time from the fat collection is one day. Improvement is typically seen within 2 weeks as the PRP has very powerful anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties. The stem cells begin doing their job regenerating in about 4-6 weeks. Patients return to their normal activity within 6-14 weeks following the procedure. The patient is examined again at 6-8 weeks following the stem cell treatment. If the patient is not 100 % at this follow up appointment, left over platelet rich plasma (PRP) which is kept at the hospital in the freezer is injected into the affected knee as an outpatient procedure. The cost of the stem cell procedure is $5800-$6400. Another advantage of the stem cell treatment is that the remaining stems cells left over from the procedure are bank in vapor nitrogen which allows them to be used for future use. One use of these banked stem cells is to treat the other knee if the ACL ruptures. Statistically 40-60% of patients will tear the other ACL within 1-2 years from the first injury. If this does occur, we are able to request these banked stem cells for the treatment. The procedure to repair the other ACL tear does not require surgery or anesthesia and is done as an outpatient procedure costing $1200. Not only are we using stem cells for ACL repair, we have also successfully treated other conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, liver disease, autoimmune diseases, laryngeal paralysis, spinal cord injuries, and various other conditions. If you are interested in the procedure, please call 773-549-3131 to set up a consultation or procedure with one of our veterinarians.