Survey finds LARS a short-term fix
Survey finds LARS a short-term fix

AFL players will be encouraged to avoid using LARS surgery for a short-term fix from knee reconstructions after the league's annual injury survey showed the risk of injury increased.

But the survey's co-author, associate professor John Orchard, said Fremantle star Anthony Morabito's hybrid LARS operation may present him with fewer risks as he attempts to return from his third knee reconstruction.

The survey, also written by Dr Hugh Seward, found 23 knee reconstructions were required last year.

Of those, eight were recurring injuries and three of those involved LARS surgery despite only a small number of players choosing the radical procedure.

"You certainly can return potentially a lot quicker from a LARS, but the reason why they are avoided overseas is that the recurrence rate was presumed to be higher and it is trending in that direction," Orchard said.

"We're certainly seeing less long-term survival with LARS.

"The conclusion is that LARS probably is on the table when the player doesn't have a lot left in his career.

"But for the younger player where long-term recurrence rate is a critical figure, then probably those younger players would be steered away from LARS.

"The hybrid is trying to get the best of both ways. The hybrid is trying to have half a graft of either a player's own hamstring or cadaver and half a LARS.

"The data we've got on that is even less. It potentially might be halfway between the two."

LARS surgery gained credibility when Sydney premiership star Nick Malceski used it to return quickly, while former Docker Luke Webster also had the operation.

While Morabito chose the hybrid LARS operation, both Kepler Bradley and Jon Griffen had traditional operations.

The AFL will attempt to audit every knee reconstruction from the past 15 years to discover which procedures work the best.

The West Australian

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