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SIS and Ligament Repair.

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SIS and Ligament Repair.

November 08, 1999

By Margaret Wan, Body1 Staff

Ligament repair is also making progress. One of the most common injuries, known as ACL tear, can now be reconstructed through surgery. A piece of ligament is taken from elsewhere in the patient’s leg, or synthetic ligament is used. It is grafted into the knee and held in place with a button on the top and a pin on the bottom. This kind of repair allows most patients to return to normal activity and participate in their favorite sports.

Right now, a material called SIS is under development that would allow the patient to grow back a damaged ligament or tendon. A very thin piece of pig intestines, about as thick as a piece of paper, forms a scaffold where the patient’s own cells could grow. "The SIS implants generally start out weaker than synthetic ligaments but become heavier and stronger with use, just like natural tissue," according to the inventor of SIS, Dr. Stephen Badylak. Studies in animals show the implant also helps increase the flow of blood to the injured area to aid in healing. Clinical trials in humans are underway. When available, this technology would complement the newest methods of ligament repair.

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