“Skiing is a demanding sport and especially those who are beginners, they might be more prone to injury or those pushing their limits. ACLs are among the most common injuries that orthopedic surgeons nationwide take care of. Upwards of 400,000 annually.”-Dr. Meininger
Dr. Alexander Meininger, a Steamboat based knee surgeon and team doctor with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, is now the first in the nation to perform a new treatment for serious knee injuries. FOX31 reports the orthopedic sports medicine surgeon began performing the “BEAR” surgery (bridge-enhanced anterior cruciate ligament repair) in December 2021. The updated procedure replaced traditional ACL reconstruction surgeries that have been standard for decades.
“Reconstruction is the medical term to replace a torn ligament with another piece of tissue, what’s called a graft. The graft need to be harvested from another part of the patient’s body.” –Dr. Meininger
BEAR repairs the patient’s original ACL that has been damaged.
“I think the advantage of the BEAR procedure is to avoid taking that tissue graft so no extra incisions are required. None of the intact natural tissues need to be interrupted or harvested to perform this surgery.” –Dr. Meininger
“One of the problems with routine ACL reconstruction is that the longterm outcomes, patients may still develop arthritis or damage to the joint because they had ACL surgery. The goal of BEAR and restoring the natural anatomy is that we allow the body to heal itself and maybe prevent some of these degenerative changes and over-tightening that ACL reconstruction may be associated with.”
I’ve only partially torn my ACL but I’ve seen countless ski buddies go down full tears. Although the recovery may take longer with BEAR procedure, the juice seems like it’s worth the squeeze in terms of the longterm benefits of adding longevity to our mountain activities. Here’s a bit more detailed explanation of the surgery: