Medical Minute 1-6: Repairing an ACL Tear in Kids

By: Vanessa Welch Email
By: Vanessa Welch Email

Cole McBay is only 11, but he's already suffered his first major league injury. Last year, he tore his A-C-L.

"I knew something felt wrong in my knee. It was hurting a lot," said Cole McBay.

The A-C-L is like a rubber band that stabilizes the knee.

"Without this, if this is gone or torn, your knee will pop out of place."

Surgical repair is routine for A-C-L tears in adults, but for kids, it can be problematic.

"A traditional reconstruction goes right across here, right across the growth plate. We don't want to do that. You may help their degeneration of their knee by preventing further injury, but you could damage them by going through the growth plate and potentially causing a growth disturbance or a misalignment of their leg," said Xerogeanes, M.D., Chief of Sports Medicine at Emory.

Emory and Georgia Tech researchers developed this new 3d MRI technology -- using this data before surgery, doctors can accurately pre-plan a safer, more anatomical A-C-L reconstruction in kids 10-years old or even younger.

"And it's a hundred percent reliable that we can use a large, a fairly large tunnel, larger than we've ever thought we can use before, and never hit the growth plate."

"He found a way to fix my knee and get me back playing sports again," said McBay.

One year after surgery, Cole's grown stronger, and four inches taller ... A young athlete who's happy to be back in the lineup.

For more information, call (407) 740-0789 ext 579

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