A surgery that uses donor tissue to repair torn ligaments
Until recently, the only repair option was replacing the ligament with tissue from either the patient`s patellar tendon, which runs from the knee cap to the shin bone, or the hamstring tendon.
Now, Dr Simon Moyes says in his new technique called allograft reconstruction, ligaments are transplanted from a deceased tissue donor.
"First we remove the damaged ligament via a keyhole incision. Two small tunnels are drilled into both the shin and thigh bone. Then the allograft or replacement ligament is pulled through, tightened, and fixed into place with screws. Recovery time is reduced, there is less pain and bruising and the scar is much smaller. It can be done as a day case, if you`re lucky. "When performing the old procedure you may be compromised by the size of the patient`s ligament, but if you are ordering from a stock, you know that the graft will be the right size. Time in surgery is reduced by about 25 minutes," Dr Moyes was quoted by the `Daily Mail`as saying.
While major organs must be taken at the time of death as they begin to decay immediately, making rejection far more likely, tissues such as skin, bone, tendons, heart valves and corneas can be safely donated up to 48 hours later.
And unlike organ transplants, tissues like ligaments do not need to be matched and patients do not require drugs to prevent rejection, say experts.