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WCH surgeon receives grant from Arthroscopy Association of North America

May 5, 2014

Dr. Jas Chahal
Dr. Jas Chahal, orthopedic surgeon at WCH and assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Department of Surgery.

Women’s College Hospital is proud to announce that one of its surgeons, in association with the University of Toronto Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Program (UTOSM), has been awarded a grant by the Arthroscopy Association of North America to conduct a randomized trial related to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery.

Dr. Jas Chahal, orthopedic surgeon and assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s department of surgery, will be the principal investigator for the randomized trial.

The ACL is found in the knee and helps maintain stability. While an ACL tear can happen to anyone, it more commonly occurs among younger individuals who participate in sports. After a tear, patients can experience instability and difficulty with activities that require pivoting and twisting. Following surgery, the road to recovery requires at least six months of rehabilitation. 

“For a young person who has led an active lifestyle, tearing their ACL will affect their ability to participate in activities or sports with a lot of pivoting movements,” said Dr. Chahal. “The goal of the ACL reconstruction surgery is to make the knee stable and to help the patient return to the same quality of life and level of function they had before injury.”

The trial will focus on the final step in the ACL reconstruction surgery. In this step, a graft (a piece of tissue taken from one part of the body and used in another) is secured to the shinbone. This step can be done with the patient’s leg lying flat or in a 30 degree angle. When it is performed with the leg flat, experts believe that the patient will have a wide range of motion but may have subtle issues with stability. When that step is performed with the leg bent, it is believed that the leg will be more stable, however the patient may lose some range of motion. Despite much research in this area of medicine, there is still no final verdict as to which position is best.

“We hope this trial will provide further knowledge about the anatomy and function of the ACL, as well as how to refine our surgical techniques so we can optimize a patient’s recovery, progress and function,” said Dr. Chahal. “This research and testing has the potential to influence and change the way surgeons practise and perform ACL reconstruction surgery,” said Dr. Chahal. 

The trial will allow a team of surgeons to perform the surgery at Women’s College Hospital on 200 patients — 100 in each leg position. The surgeons will then follow patients for two years after surgery to monitor their healing and progress. Accordingly, they hope to determine the optimal position of the knee during ACL surgery to achieve the most favourable outcomes for the patient post-surgery.

Once the study has been completed, the team hopes to publish its findings in the American Journal of Sports Medicine and at medical conferences across the world.


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