ACL Technique Validation Study

We asked Dr. Tracy Høeg about the ACL Technique Validation Study to find out what’s going on, why this is so important and what she’s most excited about!

Pictured: Tracy Høeg, MD, PhD


What is the purpose of the ACL Technique Validation Study?

With the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) technique validation study, we are trying to confirm that when we use ultrasound to guide our needle to the ACL that we are truly injecting into the ACL. The ACL has historically been very difficult to see using ultrasound and thus very difficult to treat without surgery.

We would like to publish our technique for identifying and injecting the ACL so people across the world can perform this non-invasive procedure to help heal ACL tears. The validation study helps prove that the ultrasound-guided technique is accurate.

Why is this important to future biologic studies?

The “medication” that we inject to treat the ACL tear is bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC). This is being done across the country but: 

  1. Most places use fluoroscopy to identify the ACL, which has not been validated to be accurate, 
  2. We believe ultrasound allows better accuracy and 
  3. The validation study will be used to receive approval to start a clinical trial with UC Davis on children and adults with ACL tears. 

What’s happened so far in the study?

We did perform our first validation injection in a body donor knee. We injected dye using ultrasound and then dissected the specimen and the dye was indeed in the ACL.

What are you most excited about/interested in/surprised by?

I am most excited by the patients who have done so well after being treated by BMAC to their ACL. I am very hopeful that this study, along with the clinical trial at UC Davis, could change the way medical professionals around the world treat ACL tears with a minimally invasive injection, rather than a costly and potentially complicated surgery.

I also believe we will find that BMAC used to heal a person’s ACL is a superior treatment to the standard of care graft surgery that is currently done. The current graft reconstruction for ACL tears is not always very effective.

What’s next?

We are planning to perform the validation study on a few more body donor knees. And in the meantime we are working on IRB approval for the ACL clinical trial study with UC Davis.


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