Wow, it’s amazing to see how much news there is on the new BEAR implant. We are approaching the one year mark on our first BEAR implant and so far so good. I can’t wait to see how these patients do at 3-5 years!
When they report the “less invasive ACL surgery getting athletes back in the game faster,” I want to take a minute to explain. First of all, so far nothing we do: ACL reconstruction with patellar tendon, quad, hamstring, cadaver, or BEAR allows a return to cutting sports reliably before 9-12 months.
The advantage of BEAR over every other option for ACL surgery is that you don’t drill tunnels and you don’t require a tendon (from one’s own leg or a cadaver) to do the surgery. With BEAR, you use a bovine (from a cow) collagen sponge to fill the gap created when the ACL ruptures. At the same time, you implant sutures to give the knee some stability until the ligament can heal.
My husband, Andreas Gomoll, MD, and I have now done 22 BEAR surgeries at HSS. Our initial impressions are that patients tend to be a bit more stiff in the first few months, but throughout, the feel of the knees are quite stable.
Here are a few of the stories I’ve seen about the BEAR implant lately: