News Release

August 13, 2007

Contact: Maureen McGuire, 860-679-4523

UConn Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Expert Offers New Approaches to Treat Torn ACLs

New England Musculoskeletal Institute is at the Forefront of New Advances in Care

FARMINGTON, CONN. – An orthopaedic sports medicine expert at the University of Connecticut Health Center is offering new surgical approaches to repair tears to the knee’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – one of the most common, and most vexing, sports injuries.

Robert Arciero, M.D., director of the Division of Sports Medicine within UConn’s New England Musculoskeletal Institute, is among a small group of orthopaedic surgeons offering patients these exciting new options, and studying the long term benefits.

First, is the “all inside” ACL repair.

“This is a new direction for ACL repair. Rather than drilling tunnels all the way through the leg bone, we are making tunnels from the inside out that make a socket and don’t go all the way through,” Dr. Arciero explained. “The goal is to lessen the bleeding, bruising and swelling for the patient,” he added.

Dr. Arciero has been offering this approach since the spring. To date, patients have been very pleased with the results, he said.

The second new technique is the “double bundle” approach to ACL repair. Unlike traditional ACL repair, this involves two grafts, or one graft divided in two, also using tunnels and sockets in an “all inside” manner. The double-bundle more closely resembles the natural ACL, Dr. Arciero noted.

Dr. Arciero and fellow researchers within the New England Musculoskeletal Institute are studying the benefits of this procedure. They have found that the double bundle graft appears to behave more like a normal ACL, and presented their findings recently at an international orthopaedic conference.

Dr. Arciero and his colleagues will also be watching the long-term connection between the double-bundle surgery and the onset of arthritis. While almost all people who undergo ACL repair develop arthritis in the knee later in life, Dr. Arciero believes this procedure may reduce the incidence or impact of arthritis.

The double-bundle technique, however, is not for everyone, he said. It is a longer surgical procedure and is best for younger, active and athletic individuals.

“Because of our strong research programs, we are constantly evaluating new ways to help patients recover with less pain and scarring. I’m thrilled that we have more options to offer our patients,” Dr. Arciero added.

Treating ACL Tears

ACL injuries occur frequently in people who participate in activities that involve jumping, pivoting or any abrupt change in direction.

Modern ACL surgery requires the use of another tendon called a “graft” to be used to substitute for the torn ACL. These grafts are inserted into the knee with the use of an arthroscope. The scope is a very small lens that is placed into the knee joint and is connected to a camera and monitor so the surgeon can examine and operate on the knee with less invasive techniques.

Grafts come from the patient’s own patellar tendon, hamstring tendon or quadriceps tendon, or from a donor or cadaver.

“There are pluses and minuses with each option and scientific evidence shows no superiority of one graft over another. My philosophy is to carefully review the options with every patient individually. Ultimately, I ask them to choose the option that best fits their needs and their lifestyle,” Dr. Arciero said.

Expert Care for Athletes of All Ages

At the UConn Health Center’s New England Musculoskeletal Institute, Dr. Arciero sees patients from the teen years and up. He is also an orthopaedic team physician for the UConn Huskies and USA Hockey.

“Many of my patients are active, young-living adults – also known as weekend warriors – who want the same treatment as professional athletes,” added Dr. Arciero, who is the author of more than 100 scientific articles on ligament, tendon and cartilage injuries of the knee and shoulder, and has won several national and international awards.

Download a high resolution photo of Dr. Arciero at:

The New England Musculoskeletal Institute provides world-class care for problems affecting bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. Services include orthopaedic surgery, state-of-the-art imaging and diagnostic services, physical therapy, a comprehensive spine center and care for chronic conditions such as osteoporosis, rheumatologic conditions and more. Services are available at the Health Center’s Farmington campus, as well as offices in East Hartford and Avon. To learn more visit

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