BEAR Necessities Blog

BEAR® Implant Comeback Story:
Tory, Skiing

BEAR Implant Comeback Story: Tory, Skiing

Tory Waldstein grew up skiing and rediscovered her love for the sport after college. In 2022, the 29-year-old tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) after an intense fall while downhill skiing. She wanted an option that could maintain the natural anatomy of her knee and enable her to get back to skiing by the next ski season.

We spoke with Tory and Dr. Kai Mithoefer, her orthopedic surgeon at Boston Sports & Shoulder Center in Boston, Massachusetts, about why she chose the BEAR® Implant, how rehab went and her return to skiing.

Q: How did you tear your ACL?

Tory: I tore my ACL while skiing. I had a weird fall where my ski didn’t pop off, but my knee twisted. When I stood up, I could immediately tell something was wrong with the ligaments in my knee. Once my ACL tear was confirmed, I felt confident I would recover but worried about how long my recovery would take and when I would be back to my usual activities.

Q: How did you learn about the BEAR Implant? What made you decide it was the right choice for you?

Tory: I played lacrosse in college and many of my teammates have had ACL reconstruction (ACLR) surgery, so I was somewhat familiar with my options. More recently, one of my friends had opted for a repair surgery, so I decided to explore that option as well. Dr. Mithoefer had performed my mom’s shoulder surgery, and he recommended the BEAR Implant since I was interested in getting a repair versus a reconstruction.

I found Dr. Mithoefer’s physical therapy outline for getting back to sport after the BEAR Implant very comforting. I decided to move forward because the overall recovery timeline was similar to an ACLR. Some other factors that affected my decision to get it were the fact that they wouldn’t be drilling into my knee, and I wouldn’t have to rehab a quad tendon in addition to the surgery. Another appealing factor was knowing that based on early clinical research, there was a possibility that patients who get the BEAR Implant could be at less risk of arthritis in the future.

Q: Why was Tory a good candidate for the BEAR Implant?

Dr. Mithoefer: Tory was an excellent candidate for the BEAR Implant procedure since she is young and very active. The minimally invasive procedure effectively restored her knee and allowed her to return to her demanding sports activities quickly and safely.

Q: Why do you recommend the BEAR Implant to patients like Tory?

Dr. Mithoefer: The BEAR Implant is such a great option for active patients like Tory since it allows for minimally invasive, biologic repair of the torn ligament, with natural restoration of knee anatomy and joint biomechanics, and allows for a predictable and safe return to sports.

Tory presents a great example of what the BEAR Implant surgery can achieve. The BEAR Implant procedure is a revolutionary technology that was developed out of more than 15 years of solid and groundbreaking scientific research which has received numerous prestigious orthopedic awards and is supported by the NFL Players Association. My personal experience over 2 years with many patients of different ages and activity levels has shown that it is a reliable technology that provides reproducible outcomes and return to activity while avoiding the typical downsides associated with the classic ACLR.

Q: Can you share how the rehab experience was?

Tory: My rehab went smoothly. Dr. Mithoefer had made sure I understood the BEAR Implant protocol starts slower and would not allow for as much movement initially. This made the first six weeks challenging, but by the 12-week mark, my progress was catching up to what was expected following ACLR. Overall, I don’t think I had any pain beyond what’s typically expected post-surgery.

Q: Can you tell us about your return to sport experience?

Tory: Once I was cleared to return to skiing, I definitely felt nervous. My first time back, I decided to go by myself, so I could go slowly. My knee felt stable, but I didn’t want to overdo it and was thinking a lot about not falling. Once I finished my first run down the mountain, I was relieved I made it and really proud of the physical therapy work I did to get there. As the winter progressed, I continued to build my confidence, and by the end of the season, I was back to normal.

Q. Did you have a specific goal for your return to sport?

Tory: My goal was to return to sports within the 9–12-month timeframe Dr. Mithoefer outlined. My aspirational goal was to be able to ski by January the following year with the BEAR Implant, and I accomplished that.

Q: What, in your opinion, is most notable about the BEAR Implant?

Dr. Mithoefer: ACL tears are frequent in active individuals of all ages and present a very complex problem for both short- and long-term knee health. The BEAR Implant is a true game changer for the treatment of ACL injuries. The BEAR Implant procedure allows for repair rather than replacement of the original ACL, which is more anatomic than the traditional ACLR. It also preserves important nerve sensors in the normal ligament, which are important for the knee to feel and function normally after the repair. In contrast, following reconstruction with a tendon graft, most patients state the knee never feels the same. The less invasive BEAR Implant surgery avoids the need for a tendon graft, which facilitates postsurgical recovery and avoids potential graft complications such as persistent pain or permanent functional deficits at the graft site.

Q: How has getting the BEAR Implant changed your life or impacted your daily life?

Tory: I am pretty active, and in addition to skiing, I like to play tennis and pickleball. It was really important to me to be able to get back to those activities. I am very confident in my BEAR Implant knee and when I’m skiing, in the gym or on a hike, I don’t even think about it.

Learn more about the BEAR Implant and find a surgeon

The BEAR Implant is available across the U.S. Learn more about the BEAR Implant or find a surgeon in your area. If you’re a BEAR Implant patient and would like to share your story, click here.

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.

Visit www.miachortho.com for complete product information, including Instructions for Use.

ML-1143 Rev A 12/2023