Yesterday I imagined a world in which celebrities endorse medical devices using Tom Brady's torn ACL as an example. But it's not just professional athletes that have these injuries. In fact, children and teens who participate in activities such as football, basketball, soccer, and gymnastics can suffer from torn ACLs as well. This type of injury carries a more severe sting for children because they often have to stay out of sports as a result and doctors don't want to perform the ACL reconstruction surgery until it is safe—possibly when the kid stops growing.
A team at Emory University has developed 3-D MRI technology to help surgeons plan and perform anatomic ACL surgery. The procedure usually involves creating a tunnel in the femur and tibia, sliding the new ligament between the two tunnels, and attaching it at both ends. Using 3-D technology, surgeons can see from one point to the other on either side of the knee, allowing them to position the tunnels where the new ligament will be placed. This setup prevents the surgeons from using an untold number of x-rays to get the positioning right. Plus, the procedure is quicker and doctors can be confident that they haven't damaged the kids' growth plates.
As 3-D technology continues its rise in popularity, we can't wait to see what's next. —Lawrence Lloyd