BEAR Necessities Blog

BEAR® Implant Comeback Story:
Victor, Skiing

Victor Rossin is a happily married man but jokes that the marital bliss is under a bit of strain because he received a BEAR® Implant, and his wife didn’t. When she tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) a few years ago, this option wasn’t available to her. When Victor suffered the same injury after taking a fall skiing, the BEAR Implant had just been launched in the U.S.

Victor and Dr. Joseph DeAngelis, an orthopedic surgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, chatted with us about why the BEAR Implant was a good option for Victor.

Q: How did you tear your ACL? 

Victor: I’m a very active person who loves to ski, lift, hike and cycle. I was attending a conference in Utah and had gone skiing after a big snowfall. The snow was very wet and heavy and felt icy. After a couple of wrong turns, I fell and heard a pop. I knew exactly what had happened when I heard the popping noise – not just because my wife had torn her ACL two years prior, but I’d also worked in the orthopedics industry and was very familiar with ACL tears. 

Q: How did you learn about the BEAR Implant and why was it right for you? 

Victor: I was going to schedule reconstruction surgery because I hadn’t realized that I could get the BEAR Procedure outside of a clinical trial. I read a lot about the BEAR Implant, and when I called Miach Orthopaedics to inquire about it, they connected me with Dr. DeAngelis. Even though some procedures were being canceled due to a COVID surge at the time, Dr. DeAngelis was able to squeeze me in two weeks before the recommended 50-day surgery window because it was considered an urgent procedure.

I felt that the BEAR Implant offered more benefits over reconstruction, such as maintaining the natural alignment of my knee to ensure the best possible stability, and that’s why I chose it. Dr. DeAngelis also said he felt that this is a great option for skiers.

Q. What do your family and friends think about you getting the BEAR Implant?  

Victor: They’re ecstatic. I have a son in college, and my daughter is a high school junior. We’re all very active. They’re happy to see me back on skis and that I’m able to hang with them! My wife wishes it had been available to her when she tore her ACL, but she is happy to see me return to the active lifestyle and we both are looking forward to hiking this year.

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

Dr. DeAngelis: Initially, Victor had a plan to proceed with an autograft ACL reconstruction. He and his wife are both very well-read and knowledgeable; they investigated their options and came to see me as a second opinion because they wanted to know more about the BEAR Implant. Victor has a young, active family who plays sports together. Based on his level of activity, I felt the BEAR Implant was the right option to get him back to form.

Q. Tell us about your rehab experience. 

Victor: Rehab actually went faster than I anticipated. My rehab was not as strenuous as some of the exercise I’d done prior to being injured, so I was ready. Dr. DeAngelis was very encouraging. He trusted the BEAR Implant, and that made me worry less as I was recovering. I started putting weight on my knee within a week – as soon as I could walk on crutches. I was able to start running three months later in the spring. I would do a lap and then stop and walk initially. My physical therapist was awesome and reminded me to take it at my own speed. Dr. DeAngelis likes to say that one of my knees is 55 years old and the other is just one year old. I can’t expect them to be the same. Eventually I won’t notice the difference. But I’d say my confidence, at this point, is about 95 percent.

Q: Can you tell us about returning to sport, skiing in particular? 

Victor: At 55, my competition days are over, but my wife and I are very active. I knew that in order to do the things I wanted to do, I needed to have the surgery, otherwise my knee would be unstable. I tore my ACL at the beginning of the year, and I could run without pain by the fall. Cycling really saved me in the summer months. In fact, before the tear, my record cycling distance was 35 miles. But seven and a half months after receiving the BEAR Implant, I cycled 48.2 miles with an ascent of 3,560 feet. That was pretty cool. I was able to ski again around the one-year anniversary of my injury. I was definitely more cautious because I was still getting over that mental hump.

Dr. DeAngelis: Victor did very well during his recovery. He made steady progress and was ready to return to skiing at the one-year mark.

Q: What are your plans for the future, Victor? 

Victor: I plan to stay active and am looking forward to going back to Utah to ski again. I tore my ACL after only three runs there, so I’d like to go back. I’m going to call that the redemption tour! It’s unimaginable to me to not have skiing in my life. I trust the science and I trust that my knee is strong. I know that with the BEAR Implant I can do things that I might not otherwise have been able to do.

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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