LARS artificial ligament This type of graft has begun to be used more commonly over the past 5 years. Awareness of the LARS spiked dramatically when the AFL’s Sydney Swans elected to use the graft to repair Nick Malceski’s ruptured ACL. Malceski returned to playing within 4 months of surgery, and since then more players in the AFL and other codes have undergone a LARS reconstruction.
Using the LARS ligament means that from the time of surgery the graft is very strong and there is no critical period. There is also no donor site, meaning the hamstrings and other muscle groups are not impacted when there is no need to take a graft from their tendons.
The reason this type of graft is not fully accepted by all surgeons and professionals is that there is currently limited research as to their lifespan. At present the best studies are showing the LARS still functional and strong at 4-5 years post surgery, however there is limited evidence as to their condition after this time. Some professionals and specialists believe the LARS may weaken or fray, however there is no concrete evidence that this occurs either.
Rehab Milestones: Walking without crutches – approx. 1 week
Return to Running – approx. 8-12 weeks (requires surgeon approval)
Return to Sport – approx. 12-16 weeks (with surgeon approval)