New Israeli Tendon Helps Athletes Spring Back Into Action In No Time
With sports in the US getting more competitive every year, a torn knee ligament can mean “game over” for a professional footballer, tennis star or basketball champion.
Yet these kinds of injuries are becoming more and more common, with an estimated 700,000 tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) –– the most common type of knee tear –– every year.
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A promising new ligament implant from Israel is now entering the market, kicking months of recovery time off any current treatment.
Inspired by stents, the device is developed by the five-year-old Israeli company Tavor. The Knee-T-Nol implant is made from a metal and titanium alloy, Nitinol, and looks a little like a dart.
When implanted laparoscopically through three small incisions, the flexible metallic tubing works to anchor the knee to its upper and lower bones, while providing strength, support and ligament-like freedom of movement almost immediately.
The braided, super-elastic Nitinol strands are spring-like, much like a natural tendon.
After surgery, “You can walk around the same night,” says inventor and CEO Idan Tobis. “That’s the magic. It takes one, two or three months and they can be back in the game. That’s completely different from losing a season or not; losing a career or not. It’s that simple.”
The Tavor implant reportedly failed in two people, but it is now in place in 14 patients in Israel. It offers great promise for athletes who have everything to lose.