Anchoring patients with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) often face bone and muscle loss immediately after the procedure. Researchers presenting their work today at the AOSSM / AANA Special Day Note, which combines blood flow treatment (BFR) with traditional rehabilitation efforts, can slow bone loss and reduce return to working time.
"Giving BFR as part of the rehabilitation effort after ACL surgery seems to help preserve the bone, restore muscle progression, and improve function faster, according to our research," said lead author, Bradley Lambert, Ph.D. – Orthopedic Biomechanics Research Laboratory, Department of Orthopedic & Sports Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital)
Dr. Lambert and his colleagues present new results of a randomized prospective study initiated and directed by Dr. Patrick McCulloch, MD (PI & Research Chair for Department), in which 23 active young patients (middle age 23) were examined after ACL reconstruction. The participants were divided into two groups. Both groups received the same rehab protocol, but under selected exercises, the BFR group was exercised with an 80% arterial limb occlusion using an automated tourniquet. Bone mineral density, bone mass and lean muscle mass were measured using DEXA. The addition of BFR therapy to standard rehab exercises was found to prevent muscle mass loss throughout the leg and thigh of the postoperative limb relative to rehab alone. Of course, the addition of BFR was also observed to minimize loss in bone mineral content and maintain bone density in the limb compared to standard rehab alone. These results coincided with improved functional results observed by Dr. Corbin Hot, DPT, which monitors the therapy sessions.
"BFR is an appropriate additive therapy for ACL rehabilitation with the aim of minimizing the loss and improving the recovery of muscle, bone and physical function. While further research is needed to fully elucidate the physiological mechanisms responsible for our results, these findings are likely to have far-reaching consequences for fields outside ACL rehab alone, such as injury prevention, age-related muscle and bone loss, military rehabilitation and possibly spaceflight, "Lambert says.