LARS surgery is the new trend for AFL footballers to undergo as an an alternative to a full knee reconstruction.
It is considered a quick fix when a footballer does an ACL during a game but sports medical expert Dr Peter Larkins told the Herald Sun that there was a fear that the industrial-strength polyester fibres used to repair the torn natural ligament during LARS surgery have a limited lifespan.
Blues ruckman Matthew Kreuzer recently injured his ACL as the club weighs up whether to go down the path of LARS surgery.
“If Carlton sees him as a long-term player, it’s a real unknown as to whether they (artificial fibres) survive more than a couple of years,” Larkins said. “The concern would be whether the synthetic ligament eventually ruptures.
Sydney midfielder Nick Malceski was the pioneer, or “bunny rabbit” as he referred to himself, when he became the first AFL player to undergo the procedure after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament in pre-season game early in 2008.
The serious injury normally sidelines players for 6-9 months, but Malceski was back playing senior football by round 8 of that season.
Other players David Rodan and Brad Fisher have recently undergone the LARS surgery with very swift comebacks also.
Knee reconstructions mean a full 12 months on the sidelines with limited exercise.
Fisher is getting “better and better” according to Bullants coach David Teague.
“He’s played four games now and he’s getting better and better,” Teague said.
Some players still wish to go through the full knee reconstruction such as Fremantle’s Rhys Palmer who returned this season and players such as Hawthorn ruckman Max Bailey injured his knee for the third time and underwent a third knee reconstruction.
But LARS surgery is certainly a risky trend.