Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center Advances Care With Regenerative Medicine Combined With Minimally Invasive Techniques


Two surgical innovations developed by Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center are advancing care for patients with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries and cartilage loss in joints through the use of biologic therapy. These advancements promote the body’s natural ability to heal, and provide a simpler, more cost-effective approach that is accelerating recovery and improving patient outcomes.

The minimally invasive techniques were developed by pediatric orthopaedist Paul R. Fleissner Jr., M.D., who is now teaching other orthopaedic surgeons around the country in their use. Patient results and post-surgery data over the last few years have demonstrated the success of these procedures, as well as their viability in becoming standards of care for common orthopaedic conditions.

For the repair and reconstruction of ACL tears in the knee, particularly in adolescents and young adults, Dr. Fleissner developed FlashFixTM, a technique that uses arthroscopic repair/reconstruction combined with a collagen-platelet-rich-plasma composite to promote healing. In developing this technique, Dr. Fleissner first saw potential in injecting platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into the reconstructed ACL to promote soft tissue growth and an increase in blood vessels, however, PRP is gradually broken down by natural enzymes in the knee joint. As he explored ways to prolong the effects of PRP, he found animal studies that used it with a collagen paste.

“Collagen is resistant to the enzymes in the knee, so it protects the PRP and allows it to support healing,” explained Dr. Fleissner, who has been using this technique for the last eight years. “The recovery time with FlashFix has been remarkable. For traditional ACL reconstruction, recovery typically takes one year, but on average, our FlashFix patients are able to return to sports after 22 weeks.”

In patients under age 21, the reinjury rate in an ACL reconstruction is as high as 25 to 35 percent, but only 5 percent of Dr. Fleissner’s adolescent patients have sustained a second ACL tear after repair.

The second technique Dr. Fleissner pioneered is a single-stage process for the surgical repair of articular cartilage using the patient’s own cartilage. This technique uses a Reveille® Cartilage Processor, which makes it possible to complete the repair with one surgery instead of the traditional two.

Typically, stage one of the process involves harvesting cartilage so it can be grown in a lab. The second stage occurs about six weeks later when the cartilage is ready for implantation. With the cartilage processor in the operating room, implantable tissue can be created and implanted within minutes of harvesting. Once the cartilage tissue is implanted, Dr. Fleissner incorporates PRP at the site to enhance cartilage growth.

To further simplify the single-stage procedure, Dr. Fleissner developed a funnel-shaped cartilage delivery device so the cartilage tissue can be implanted arthroscopically.

“In addition to being less traumatic for the patient, our single-stage procedure is far less costly,” Dr. Fleissner explained. “At Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center our goal is to offer patients the highest quality care as cost effectively as possible, which is very important for value-based medicine.”

After the one-stage procedure, patients are able to return to sports and other activities in six months. MRI scans at the one-year mark show significant cartilage regrowth. Twenty Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center patients are approaching their two-year post-surgery anniversary with continued excellent results.

The Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center is nationally renowned for its comprehensive orthopaedic care and is increasingly recognized not only for setting new standards in biologic advancements, but also for providing important medical education in the field of regenerative medicine. To further support the development of new advancements and innovations, Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center is breaking ground on the region’s first purpose-built, state-of-the-art orthopaedic hospital.

“Because our hospital is physician-owned, we can expedite the appropriate committee approval process while advancing treatment, such as biologic therapies that can offer our patients better outcomes,” Dr. Fleissner said. “We’re able to challenge each other to develop innovative techniques that ultimately benefit patients.”

Scheduled to open in 2021, the new hospital will feature the most advanced technology and facilities available – expanding upon Crystal Clinic’s leadership position and ability to provide specialty care across a wide range of orthopaedic and plastic/reconstructive medicine procedures.

For more information about Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Fleissner, visit or call 888-341-9581.


About Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center
Nationally renowned for orthopaedic care, Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center is a physician- owned, orthopaedic specialty hospital system with board-certified and fellowship-trained surgeons who perform more than 15,500 surgeries each year. With locations throughout Northeast Ohio, Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center is one of only 13 hospitals in the nation, and the only one in Ohio, to earn Joint Commission certifications in total hip, total knee, total shoulder and spinal fusion procedures. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center its highest rating for Overall Hospital Quality. In ratings of America’s Top- Quality Hospitals, Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center is among the Top 15 in the nation for major orthopaedic surgery, and rated #1 in Northeast Ohio for spinal surgery and joint replacement, according to the medical-specific CareChex National Quality Rating Database (Quantros Analytics).