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Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I'm on a football scholarship and just got red-shirted for a knee injury. My right anterior cruciate ligament has a 25 percent tear. I've been told I can rest and rehab it, but I'll miss the season. What about the shrink wrap treatment I heard about? Can that get me back in the game sooner?

Radiofrequency (RF) has been used to heat up the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee. Results have been less than perfect. It seems to hold well for the first year, but after that the long-term failure rate (at five years) is high (85 percent).

Even with heat shrinkage the rehab time is about six months. Sports that include impact, cutting, and twisting are off limits for six months. Even if this got you back in the game again, it could end your career. Further injury and joint degeneration are common. Only about half of the athletes who have this treatment go back to sports at the same level again.

It's probably best to follow the advise of your doctor and trainer. Also, it would be advisable not just to get back into the game but to preserve your knee for the rest of your life. That may not seem so important now, but you'll be glad you did years later.


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