What is it and how is it performed?
Cartilage Restoration Overview
Cartilage Restoration is a procedure where a patient’s knee is resurfaced, realigned and stabilized. It is used as an alternative method of treatment to a total knee replacement.
Articular cartilage is a firm and smooth covering on the ends of bones that protects and cushions the joint. Injuries to this cartilage can often cause pain and swelling. If partially or fully detached injured cartilage can cause mechanical symptoms such as “locking up or “catching.”
Cartilage restoration is especially effective in patients who are active and under 50 years of age.
The two most common types of cartilage restoration:
ACI (Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation):
ACI is indicated for larger areas of full thickness cartilage loss and requires two surgeries. First, we arthroscopically harvest normal cartilage cells from one area of the knee not needed. The second surgery is an open surgery where we implant the cartilage cells back into the knee to repair the damaged area.
Cartilage and bone transplants are indicated when the damaged area is very large, if there is a failure of one of the other techniques, or if the bone is also injured along with the cartilage. This is when cartilage and bone plugs are harvested from either an uninjured non-weight bearing area of the knee and then transplanted to cover the injured area of bone and cartilage.
Recovery varies but can take 2-3 months before weight-bearing activities can be pursued.
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