Over the past eight years of treating ACL tears using stem cells I have completed 213 fully torn ACL’s cases. The treatment that I have developed is signifyingly less invasive, less painful, improved recovery and a procedure that treats the secondary arthritis, regenerates the damaged articular cartilage and regenerates the torn medial meniscus which surgical correction cannot. In veterinary medicine today, the surgical protocol to treat ACL tears is doing a surgical procedure known as a TPLO. This procedure was developed in 1984 but only became the surgical treatment of choice by surgeons over the past 15 years. The latest published article on the TPLO surgery showed a 37% complication rate from this procedure including, infection at the bone plate site, fractures, inability to resolve pain and bone cancer. It is a very aggressive, painful and complicated procedure for the patient. In addition to the success of resolving the pain and lameness associated with the ACL injury, I have not had any patients receiving stem cell treatment return for any issues including arthritic problems following the treatment. In contrast 100% of patients having any other surgical intervention all return within a few years with debilitating arthritis and pain and lameness. The stem cell procedure involves a 10-15-minute surgical procedure to collect 20-40 grams of fat by making an approximately 2-inch incision just below the breastbone. This fat is processed in our stem cell lab immediately following collection. After the processing and activation of the stem cells is completed (~3.5 hours), the stem cells are injected into the affected knee. The actual surgical recovery time is one day. Patients return to normal activity within 10-16 weeks. I have clients restrict the pet’s activity by allowing leash walks only for 8 weeks. This is a strong contrast to a restriction required after a TPLO which may involve sedation for weeks, cage restrictions or room confinement. Swimming is encouraged and possible after sutures are removed 2 weeks following the procedure. The pet is examined again at 6-8 weeks following the stem cell treatment. If the patient is not 100 % at this follow up appointment, a platelet rich plasma (PRP) treatment is done as an outpatient procedure. The cost of the procedure is ~$2500 dollars less expensive for a single torn ACL and $7000 less if the other ACL tears in the future as we bank the remaining cells which are available for the patient’s life. Statistically 40-60% of patients will tear the other ACL in the other knee within 1-2 years from the first injury. If you are interested in the procedure, please call 773-549-3131.
Scott M Rovner, D.V.M