ATLANTA, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A U.S. surgeon says a new technology makes it possible to reconstruct knee tears in young athletes without disrupting their growth.
Dr. John Xerogeanes of the Emory Sports Medicine Center in Atlanta says 3-D magnetic resonance imaging now allows surgeons to pre-operatively plan and perform repairs of anatomic anterior cruciate ligament surgery in the knees -- one of the more common injuries in children.
Previously, the doctor explains, this common injury in children was treated with rehabilitation, a brace and staying out of athletics until growth ceased and surgery could be done.
"The problem with doing surgery on a young child is that if you damage the growth plate, you can cause a growth disturbance," Xerogeanes says in a statement.
However, the new technology allows correct positioning of the tunnels for the new ligament with confidence the growth plates will not be damaged.
Children undergoing this operation have at least one year of recovery time, Xerogeanes says, but they will then be able to take part in normal activities.
Xerogeanes and his colleagues at Emory also are performing the anatomic anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction technique on adults.