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New type of ACL repair surgery offered in St. Louis area; first patient shares his story

<i>KMOV</i><br/>After learning he would need surgery
After learning he would need surgery

By Shoshana Stahl

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    ST. LOUIS, Missouri (KMOV) — Sports injuries, and especially torn ACLs, are happening all too often, but a new surgery offered in the Metro hopes to give patients better and faster results.

The surgery is called the BEAR or Bridge Enhanced ACL Repair (or Restoration). Previous surgery options for torn ACLs include getting ligaments from other parts of the body, which Mercy orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Irvine said can increase pain and lead to longer recovery times. But, BEAR creates a bridge for the ligament to recreate cells.

“Early studies look very comparable to a reconstruction, so if we can repair a ligament versus harvesting tissue from somewhere and make a new one, I think hopefully patients will be better off,” Dr. Irvine told News 4.

Alex Silies was in the middle of a soccer game in April when he was injured.

“I was running, and I like jumped, but I guess the guy kind of stepped on my foot and then I landed, and my knee just like buckled outwards,” the 15-year-old said.

After a visit to an Urgent Care, Silies found out he had torn his ACL.

“It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life,” Silies recalled. “I just couldn’t move my leg at all.”

After learning he would need surgery, Mercy offered for Alex to be the first in the area to get the new type of ACL repair. Hospital officials told News 4 it is the only hospital in the area to offer this surgery.

“He told me it was a new surgery, and it would make me stronger after,” Silies said. “I was a little concerned, and then I did some research on it and I decided to go for it and see what happens.”

Hundreds of thousands of people across the country tear their ACL each year.

Silies is now in rehab, and his progress is going great.

“I’m like four weeks ahead,” Silies said. “I got my crutches off early. I’m doing a lot of exercises that are ahead, and I can start doing my normal life again.”

He told News 4 his goal is to be back to playing soccer within the next six months. However, with that goal also comes some risks.

“It’s a little scary because you think about what else and what if it happens again, and I have to go through all of it again,” Silies said. “But I’m super excited.”

This experience is what is also inspiring Silies to want to go into sports medicine when he’s older.

For patients to be eligible for that new surgery, it must happen within 50 days of the injury and have enough ACL tissue left to work for that method.

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