HOUSTON – A 19-year-old volleyball player and avid runner went under the knife at Memorial Hermann Hospital for all the world to see. After tearing her anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, the patient, who is not being identified, agreed to have her reconstructive surgery live on Twitter.
The event was an effort by Memorial Hermann to educate people about an increasingly common injury among active people, especially women and girls.
Dr. Walt Lowe, an Orthopedic Surgeon with Memorial Hermann Hospital performed the procedure and explains who is most at risk for an ACL injury.
"Teenage girls that play high risk sports, soccer, basketball, where you're running, cutting, jumping, starting, stopping, fast, those things. Those are the highest risk group," Dr. Lowe said.
Dr. Lowe performs about 400 ACL reconstructions a year. As he scrubbed in, another surgeon and a physical therapist gave play by play Tweets, answering questions from around the world.
ACL reconstructions are usually done using tendons from a cadaver or the patient's own tendons.
"It's the graft that has the lowest risk of re-tearing once you go back to those sports that put you at risk," explained Dr. Lowe.
This patient was able to return home on the same day to begin a long road of physical therapy.
"It's a year-long investment if you really want to completely recover," Dr. Lowe added.
This was the third live surgery Twittercast. Memorial Hermann previously featured a live C-section birth and live brain surgery.