Head to Total – Sports Medicine with Dr. Peter Lasater
August 17th, 2022
Head to Total – Dr. Peter Lasater on the Role of Orthopedic in ACL Injuries
We spoke to the orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Peter Lasater, of Mendelson-Kornblum. Dr. Lasater is an experienced orthopedist but has a particular interest in sports health and medicine and keeping professional sports players healthy and able to remain active within their disciplines.
It Could Only Ever Have Been Orthopaedics
“When I chose to go be a doctor, I had only really been exposed to orthopedics. I shadowed a surgeon during college and knew I wanted to do that when I started medical school.
I come from a sports-loving family, so doing a fellowship in sports medicine came as a natural progression. During my fellowship, I worked on the Minnesota Twins baseball team. I loved the synergy and atmosphere and excitement of being hands-on medical support and looking after the team during and after the games.”
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries – Prevention is Better Than Cure
“My experience with professional sportsmen ensured I had the edge when diagnosing and treating similar injuries when I joined Mendelson-Kornblum. One of the most common injuries to the joints is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). I have done many surgeries to repair these injuries, but after working with the physical therapy department, I recognized a need for an ACL prevention program.
“Developing a workout program that focuses on strengthening knee areas, working on landing mechanics, and building up resistance will reduce the need for surgical intervention. Avoiding surgery where possible is always first prize – all surgery comes with risks, such as bleeding, blood clots, or reactions to anesthesia. There is also much physical therapy required post ACL surgery.”
Types of ACL Injuries
“While it is better to prevent injuries from occurring, it’s not always as simple as that. The first time we see a patient is very often after the injury, and we must assess the way forward.
“Severe sprains sometimes need more aggressive treatment, especially if it is causing a lot of referred pain and limited mobility. These are assessed on a case-by-case basis. The best way to diagnose an ACL tear is with an MRI. It will also differentiate between an ACL injury and an MCL injury (medial collateral ligament). Once we know what we are dealing with, and if surgery is the only way forward, patients are released to discover that the surgery is far less invasive than they first thought.”
Less Invasive, Faster Recovery
“We make two little incisions at the front of your knee that the scope goes into and a smaller incision above the shin. We drill small tunnels to the bones, and if necessary, we can harvest a graft of the hamstrings. If there is meniscal injury –often the case – we can tend to it simultaneously. People who had ACL surgery had a very different experience and would now be wielding a large scar. The use of arthroscopy has significantly advanced the field.
“The surgery usually takes about two hours, and the wound will heal quickly, but the ligament will need more time. For the first couple of months, physical therapy will help get the range of motion back to where it needs to be. Competitive athletes need more time to heal than recreational athletes, purely based on the strain they will take once they are back in the game.”
Preventative Care and First Aid
“It sounds cliched, but the traditional tips, like warm-up and stretch, are golden. Compression sleeves also help protect the area. Urgent care for acute trauma will prevent further damage. Cold packs and a medicated rub for the muscles are great aftercare practices that reduce swelling or inflammation. It is also great for acute, minor injuries and will help prevent them from becoming worse. It is also important to know your body and its capabilities. Someone in their forties won’t be as agile as someone in their teens. Listen to your body and rest. Sometimes your body needs a few days to recover, and pushing yourself will lead to a more severe injury.” To listen to the full podcast with Peter, visit here.