When Ellen Bellino tore her ACL, the active runner thought she would be on a long road to recovery. With the help of the innovative Arthrex ACL primary repair procedure using the InternalBrace™ technique, Ellen is running again.
An avid runner and volleyball player, Ellen Bellino loves being outside.
“The best part about being in the mountains and running through it is just how freeing it is,” she said. “Natural oxygen, the air, I mean there’s nothing better than being outside in nature.”
Ellen is a very active person. “It’s really important for me just to get a good sweat every day. It just makes me feel better. It makes me happier, more energetic.”
One day, Ellen twisted her knee and heard a click. She didn’t think she’d injured her ACL, but she knew something was wrong. She went to urgent care and learned she did, in fact, have an ACL tear. “I was completely devastated,” she said.
This was Ellen’s second ACL tear, and she knew how intense physical therapy could be after an ACL reconstruction. She was ready for a long road ahead, but she wanted the best solution. After visiting various doctors, she found Dr. Gregory S. DiFelice through a friend who had been on a podcast with him. The topic? ACL repairs.
Dr. DiFelice thought there was about a 25 percent chance he could repair her ACL.
“The goal of modern-day ACL reconstruction is to basically replace the ligament,” he explained. “We place a graft in where the ligament used to sit. We place it into little holes the bone or tunnels. In ACL repair, there are no grafts. There are no tunnels. We’re using your native tissue, and we’re simply reattaching it to the bone.”
If the tissue is damaged, the InternalBrace technique can support the primary ACL repair. “It’s kind of like having a seat belt on,” Dr. DiFelice said.
Dr. DiFelice was able to perform an Arthrex ACL repair using the InternalBrace technique on Ellen’s knee. Today, she’s confident in her repair.
“Today, my knee feels amazing,” said Ellen. “I’m just impressed every day by how good it feels.”
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Ellen Returns to the Activities She Loves
After surgery, Ellen hit the ground running. “I was on the elliptical by three weeks. I was back to all my group fitness classes at four weeks, and then I started running again by six weeks. I did a half marathon at three months,” she said. “Honestly, just a miraculous recovery all around.”
“A number of publications show the patients do well, complications are lower, the recoveries are faster,” said Dr. DiFelice. “Everybody’s game, no matter what it is, is important to them. . . . We help people get back in the game and enjoy their lives.”
After experiencing both ACL repair and ACL reconstruction, Ellen is impressed with the Arthrex ACL repair procedure.
“This recovery for my repair on my ACL was completely different, like worlds different, from my ACL reconstruction on my other knee,” she said. “I feel like every new feat I’ve accomplished, I’ve been surprised by the results, surprised by the lack of pain, just surprised by the ability of how quickly I’ve been able to do it. The fact that I was able to bounce back right away just shocked everyone, including myself.”
The presenting surgeon is a paid consultant for Arthrex Inc. For questions, please contact Arthrex Medical Education.
The InternalBrace surgical technique is intended only to augment the primary repair/reconstruction by expanding the area of tissue approximation during the healing period and is not intended as a replacement for the native ligament. The InternalBrace technique is for use during soft tissue-to-bone fixation procedures and is not cleared for bone-to-bone fixation.