Monday, June 27, 2016

ACL Reconstruction Rehabilitation Part 3

Postoperative rehabilitation remains critical to the outcome for the patient undergoing ACL reconstruction. If the physical therapy following surgery does not go well then it does not matter how well the surgery was performed. When the
MOON group began enrolling ACL reconstruction patients we decided to develop a standardized physical therapy protocol to use for our patients and to have consistency for our patients’ recovery. I was tasked with developing an evidence based review of ACL reconstruction rehabilitation and then using it in conjunction with our physical therapists to develop a practical protocol. Ultimately, we developed what has been a very popular protocol that is more milestone based than time based and has been easy to implement across our several sites. We have subsequently published the protocol in the AOSSM journal Sports Health so that others can utilize it also. You can read the description and find the protocol HERE.

We based the protocol on a series of Systematic Reviews we performed to establish the evidence for best practice ACL rehabilitation. Previously we discussed the first 2 reviews. Here we will review the findings in our 3rd review which was an update of the original 2. It can be found HERE. In this study we discussed an additional study evaluating the use of Continuous Passive Motion machines which once again showed no advantage. Several additional studies had been published evaluating bracing and none demonstrated any advantage in the postoperative rehabilitation period. Additional studies evaluated early ROM and quad strengthening without any increase in laxity. Eccentric strengthening was safe and showed improved strength gains compared to concentric strengthening when initiated at 3 weeks and continuing for 12 weeks. Accelerated rehab shortening to 5 months the recovery did not result in worse outcomes  or safety issues. Additional electrical stimulation studies showed safety, but no significant efficacy in ACL rehabilitation.

Most additional studies performed since our last review reiterated our additional findings. I will be presenting specific findings for revision ACL reconstruction rehabilitation at the July 2016 American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and we will blog those results when available next week.

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