Bridge-Enhanced® ACL Repair Clinical Trial

Every year, approximately 400,000 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries occur. ACL reconstruction surgery is one of the most common orthopedic procedures in the United States. Unlike other ligaments, the ends of a torn ACL do not reconnect. During an ACL reconstruction, an orthopedic surgeon removes the ends of the torn ACL and replaces them with a graft, usually from two of the patient's hamstring tendons. Although most patients are able to return to sports, the ACL re-tear rate can be as high as 20 percent for teens. Up to 80 percent of patients develop arthritis 15 to 20 years after surgery.

What is bridge-enhanced ACL repair?

The new technique, bridge-enhanced ACL repair (BEAR)®, uses stitches and a bridging scaffold (a sponge injected with the patient's blood) to stimulate healing of the torn ACL. We have tried the procedure in animal models and 75 patients. The goal of the current study is to determine if the new technique is as good as ACL reconstruction for a larger number of patients.

What are the differences between ACL reconstruction and bridge-enhanced ACL repair?

ACL reconstruction:

•   standard care for ACL tears, proven to be safe and effective
•   requires incision to harvest the graft; other work done arthroscopically
•   requires graft harvest of patient's own tendon
•   remaining ACL tissue is removed

Bridge-enhanced ACL repair (BEAR) at Boston Children's Hospital

Bridge-enhanced repair:

•   experimental use of a bridging scaffold with some unknown risks and benefits
•   requires incision to insert scaffold; other work done arthroscopically
•   no graft harvest of patient's tendon
•   remaining ACL tissue is preserved

Learn more about the BEAR clinical trial

Currently enrolling into the BEAR III trial. To learn more about the BEAR III trial or to schedule an appointment with a BEAR trial physician, please call 617-355-3501 or please email bear.trial@childrens.harvard.edu.