BEAR Necessities Blog

BEAR® Implant Comeback Story:
Andy, Weekend Warrior

Andy Lad had always been an active weekend warrior—hiking, skiing, running, cycling—but after an injury during an amateur hockey match, the­ finance professional went in search of options to treat tears to his medial collateral ligament (MCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Having never needed surgery before, he was seeking the least-invasive option that would help facilitate a return to sports and active lifestyle – which led him to select the BEAR® Implant for his ACL tear.

Andy and Dr. Scott Sigman, an orthopedic surgeon at Orthopedic Surgical Associates in Lowell, MA, talked with us about this BEAR Implant first.

Q: How did you tear your ACL?

Andy: I fell while playing ice hockey. I heard a pop in my knee and then I could only stand up straight and couldn’t turn my knee because it would collapse. It turns out I had torn both my MCL and ACL.

Q: How did you learn about the BEAR Implant?

Andy: I discovered the BEAR Implant after doing research on my own. It sounded like a more natural option than reconstruction. I was interested in the clinical trial I read about online, but when I called Boston Children’s, they told me that it had ended. They put me in touch with Miach, who connected me with Dr. Sigman since it had just recently received FDA approval.

Q. Did you initially consider other treatment options? Why did you choose the BEAR Implant?

Andy: Yes, but traditional reconstruction sounded intrusive. Dr. Sigman told me that my MCL would grow back on its own, but the ACL wouldn’t because there’s a gap and no blood flow to facilitate growth. I was a bit uneasy about having a foreign body implanted in my knee, but it seemed like a more natural option. I chose the BEAR Implant because I wanted to be able to do everything I was able to do before my injury.

Q: Dr. Sigman, can you tell us why Andy was a good candidate for the BEAR Implant?

Dr. Sigman: Andy was a great candidate for the BEAR Implant. He had an acute injury and had a strong desire to continue an active lifestyle. He preferred an option other than allograft tissue, which uses tissue from a donor.

Q. Andy, tell us why you chose Dr. Sigman for the BEAR surgery. Were you nervous about being his first patient?

Andy: I felt confident that Dr. Sigman had done his homework. He had all the answers to my questions. He was knowledgeable about the BEAR Implant technology and the procedure, and he always followed up with me after visits.  

Q. Did you see the MRI of your knee after getting the BEAR Implant?

Andy: Yes! Since I was Dr. Sigman’s first BEAR Implant patient, we ended up doing multiple MRIs. At six months, he said it looked like a baby ACL and at nine months he said it was impressive and I was good to go with no limitations. I felt I could trust my knee completely and had a feeling that things were going well.  

Q. How was your rehab experience?

Andy: Rehab went pretty smoothly, and I didn’t have much pain after surgery. I woke up without any pain and only needed about a third of the pain medication I was prescribed. After about three weeks I ditched the crutches and started carefully walking on my own and, every day, there was gradual improvement. I followed rehab protocol and rode a stationary bike to build up my muscles around the knee. Four months after surgery I was able to travel to Mexico and was already swimming. The longest process was getting the full bend of the knee with the BEAR Implant to match my right knee and that happened after about a year.

Dr. Sigman: Andy had a typical recovery. He was mobile and returned to function on the usual timeline. We are pleased with his rapid recovery after receiving the BEAR Implant.

Q: Andy—have you returned to playing hockey or other sports?

Andy: I haven’t had the chance to play hockey yet since I no longer play in the amateur league where I initially injured my knee, but I have returned to my active lifestyle. I’ve been skiing, go running regularly and do all types of workouts, including weights, stretching, cycling and swimming. I also went hiking while carrying my 2.5-year-old daughter on my back and didn’t have any concerns. I feel confident I won’t have issues. I’ve been able to put pressure on my knee and haven’t had any problems

Q. Tell me about your level of confidence in your BEAR knee. 

Andy: I followed the recommended protocol and was able to get rid of the crutches pretty quickly. After I got the full bend of my knee back at the one-year mark, I didn’t feel any difference between my BEAR knee and my knee without the implant. In fact, my left leg—where I had the tears—is probably a little stronger because I paid more attention to regaining strength in that knee. Now I can pretty much do anything. Today, I have full confidence in my knee and no concerns about strength or range of motion.

Q: Dr. Sigman, would you recommend the BEAR Implant for other patients?

Dr. Sigman: I recommend the BEAR Implant for all athletes, regardless of their level of competition. There’s a strong body of research associated with the BEAR Implant and the FDA approval based on that research. 

Learn more about the BEAR Implant and find a surgeon

The BEAR Implant is available in select cities across the U.S., with more cities coming soon. Learn more about the BEAR Implant or find a surgeon in your area.

The BEAR Implant from Miach Orthopaedics was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2020. It is indicated for skeletally mature patients at least 14 years of age with a complete rupture of the ACL confirmed by MRI. Patients must have an ACL stump attached to the tibia to facilitate the restoration.

It is important to follow the BEAR Implant physical therapy program. Your surgeon can explain the program details.

Be sure to discuss your individual symptoms, diagnosis and treatment with your surgeon. The BEAR Implant has the same potential medical/surgical complications as other orthopedic surgical procedures, including ACL reconstruction. These include the risk of re-tear, infection, knee pain, meniscus injury and limited range of motion.

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ML-1080 Rev A 2/2023