Cartilage Replacement

Cartilage replacement is a surgical procedure performed to replace the worn-out cartilage with the new cartilage. It is usually performed to treat patients with small areas of cartilage damage usually caused by sports or traumatic injuries. It is not indicated for those patients who have advanced arthritis of knee. Articular or hyaline cartilage is the tissue that covers bone surface of the knee which helps in smooth interaction between the two bones in knee joint. It has less capacity to repair by itself because there is no direct blood supply to cartilage.

Cartilage replacement helps relieve pain, restore normal function, and can delay or prevent the onset of arthritis. The goal of cartilage replacement procedures is to stimulate growth of new hyaline cartilage. Various arthroscopic procedures involved in cartilage replacement include:

  • Microfracture -  Microfracture involves creating numerous tiny holes in injured joint surface using a special tool, called ‘awl’. The holes are made in the bone under the cartilage, called as subchondral bone. This creates a new blood supply to the cartilage which stimulates the growth of new cartilage.
  • Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) - Ii is a two-step procedure, where healthy cartilage cells are removed from the non-weight bearing joint, grown in the laboratory and then implanted in the cartilage defect during the second procedure. During this procedure, a patch is harvested from the periosteum, a layer of thick tissue that covers the bone and is sewn over the defected area using fibrin glue. The new cartilage cells are then injected under the periosteum into the cartilage defect to allow the growth of new cartilage cells.

Following cartilage replacement your doctor may recommend physiotherapy to help restore mobility to the affected joint.

  • Australian Orthopaedic Association
  • Australian Knee Society
  • Arthroplasty Society of Australia
  • International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine
  • Asia Pacific Orthopaedic Association
  • ESSKA
  • Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science
  • Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
  • Warringal Private Hospital
  • Asia Pacific Orthopaedic Association