Zander Melendy was born without a left ACL. It was not discovered until October 2018 when he was 6 years old. Congenital absence of the anterior crucial ligament is an extremely rare condition, 1 out of 100,000 live births. When Zander was 4 years old, he showed his parents that he could pop his left knee in and out. They took video of it for documentation and to ask if this was normal. Commenting about how funny he ran when he played sports, they never thought anything was physically wrong with him.
It was a few years later that he was jumping on his trampoline and complaining his knee still popped and on occasion and his legs hurt. Following that mom’s gut feeling they decided to get his knee looked at.
To their surprise and the amazement of the doctor, it was discovered that Zander did not have an ACL at all. It was explained to them that if he had never been in any trauma or excruciating pain and swelling then it was a congenital defect.
There have been few case studies with small children with this condition. An MRI was done to confirm there was no ligament, it did show a string of something that tried to start as one but it never formed. The ACL is formed when the baby is in the womb around 7-8 weeks.
After completing a surgery on him to form an ACL from his own Iliotibial band that is on the side of his thigh in a surgery that lasted roughly 2-3 hours, everything went smoothly.
Recovery was 6-8 weeks non weight bearing he was in a wheelchair for 5 weeks was released early to put weight on his leg. After using a walker for 2 weeks, is now independent of that as well.
We are blessed with great insurance and Zander’s recovery.