More Than Half of All ACL Reconstructions Could Be Avoided, Five-Year Follow-Up Study Shows

Another Human-Based Study, and I’ve Been Proving This in Canine Cases For Over 10 Years-

From RehabDeb: This report is from human medical research, however Colorado State University has since conducted some animal studies. I would love to conduct studies with advanced exercise physiology protocol that I have been using for over 20 years even with my own pets before doing “official” vet med work. I look forward to when I have resources to do those studies.

When I began independent practice in 2007, I used my accumulated research studies, experience, and knowledge begun decades before my work in veterinary medicine in order to create some simple functional exercise and drill protocol. These programs benefited hundreds of my pet patients whose people opted to not pursue surgery. I have used these programs for both cats and dogs.

In every case where people follow my protocol (and where there are no extenuating circumstances), the pets have stabilized the knee or other joint with muscle growth and strength and with proper scar tissue (sometimes we want some scar tissue).

These pets have also functioned very well after rehabilitation. You may do all this work in the home environment with no dependence on specialized equipment in a clinic. There is no need for specialized equipment when we are drawing from centuries of known exercise physiology.

My programs for conservative (no surgery) treatment are clinically and anecdotally successful. This means that clients and veterinarians do the work and get good results. You can too, if you want to do the work 🙂

Jan. 30, 2013 — In the summer of 2010, researchers from Lund University in Sweden reported that 60 per cent of all anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions could be avoided in favour of rehabilitation. The results made waves around the world, and were met with concerns that the results would not hold up in the long term. Now the researchers have published a follow-up study that confirms the results from 2010 and also show that the risk of osteoarthritis and meniscal surgery is no higher for those treated with physiotherapy alone.

“We have continued with our study and for the first time are able to present a five-year follow-up on the need for and results of ACL surgery as compared with physiotherapy. The British Medical Journal published the findings and they are basically unchanged from 2010.

This will no doubt surprise many people, as we have not seen any difference in the incidence of osteoarthritis,” says Richard Frobell, one of the researchers behind the study, who is an associate professor at Lund University and a clinician at the orthopaedic department, Helsingborg Hospital.

Richard Frobell explains that the research group’s results from 2010, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, caused a stir and questions were raised as to whether it was possible to say that an operation would not be needed in the long term.

Half of the patients who were randomly assigned not to undergo reconstructive surgery have had an operation in the five years since, after they experienced symptoms of instability.

“In this study, there was no increased risk of osteoarthritis or meniscal surgery for ACL injury treated with physiotherapy alone compared to treated with surgery. Neither was there any difference in patients’ experiences of function, activity level, quality of life, pain, symptoms or general health,” says Richard Frobell.

“The new report shows that there was no difference in any outcome between those who had operations straight away, those who had operations later, and those who did not have an operation at all.

“The message to the medical experts who are treating young, active patients with ACL injuries is that it may be better to start by considering rehabilitation rather than operating straight away.

In Sweden, over 5000 people every year suffer an anterior cruciate ligament injury, mainly young people involved in sport. There are different schools of treatment and Sweden stands out with treatment that is in line with the results of the study.

“On an international front, almost all of those with ACL injuries have operations. In Sweden, just over half have surgery, but in southern Sweden we have been working for many years to use advanced rehabilitation training as the first method of treatment. Our research so far has confirmed that we are right in not choosing to operate on these injuries immediately. Longer-term follow-up is important to look more closely at the development of osteoarthritis in particular,” says Richard Frobell.

KANON, Knee ACL NON-operative versus operative treatment is the name of the research group. They are now moving on to the next stage. This year, the third part of the study will begin, following up the patients ten years after acl injury.

Richard Frobell has also entered into a collaboration with researchers at the School of Economics and Management at Lund University. He is evaluating the health economics aspects of different treatment methods for ACL injury.

Journal References

  • R. B. Frobell, H. P. Roos, E. M. Roos, F. W. Roemer, J. Ranstam, L. S. Lohmander. Treatment for acute anterior cruciate ligament tear: five year outcome of randomised trial. BMJ, 2013; 346 (jan24 1): f232 DOI:10.1136/bmj.f232
  • Richard B. Frobell, Ewa M. Roos, Harald P. Roos, Jonas Ranstam, L. Stefan Lohmander. A Randomized Trial of Treatment for Acute Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears.New England Journal of Medicine, 2010; 363 (4): 331 DOI:10.1056/NEJMoa0907797

From ScienceDaily