The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is a key structural ligament inside the knee joint that provides stability, particularly when the knee is rotating or pivoting. It’s most commonly injured during sports. The PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) is another important stabilizing ligament inside the knee that is much less commonly injured than the ACL.
Symptoms of an ACL injury typically include a sense of knee instability, particularly during rotating or pivoting movements. Activities such as basketball, tennis, racquetball, football, soccer, gymnastics, etc., that involve a lot of high force stop-start and pivoting movements become challenging, if not impossible, with an ACL tear. However, some ACL tears cause no symptoms at all, and certain patients can function quite well without ever having their ACL treated.
The proper treatment of ACL tears depends on the nature of the tear. The ACL and PCL can tear completely or partly. Complete ACL tears that cause severe symptoms usually need surgical reconstruction. But, partial ACL and PCL tears most often can be treated non-surgically with regenerative medicine such as PRP and stem cells.
At the New England Stem Cell Institute, we can inject the ACL/PCL using fluoroscopic (X-ray) guidance to ensure accuracy, something the vast majority of practices don’t do. We inject a very small amount of dye into the damaged ligament to make sure that the needle is actually IN the ligament, and then we perform the actual PRP or stem cell injection. This is the only way to confirm proper needle placement and ensure the treatment goes exactly where it’s needed.