Several procedures can help repair an articular cartilage injury in your knee. Your doctor can help you decide which treatment option is best for you based on your age, as well as the location and size of the cartilage injury and your expectations.
Remember, if you postpone treatment, your injury and associated knee pain may get worse and over time may become more difficult to repair.
Articular Cartilage Repair
Arthroscopic Chondroplasty (Debridement and Lavage)
During an arthroscopic procedure, the surgeon locates and trims the damaged cartilage, then irrigates the area with sterile water. This cleaning of the joint surface may also be referred to as “debridement and lavage.” Chrondoplasty may relieve pain, but this treatment does not actually repair the damaged cartilage.
Marrow Stimulation Repairs (Abrasion Arthroplasty, Microfracture, Subchrondal Drilling)
These procedures are used to repair small cartilage injuries. They allow the body’s own marrow stem cells to produce scar tissue and repair the damaged cartilage. The surgeon uses a surgical instrument to create tiny holes or breaks in the bone underneath the damaged cartilage. Blood seeps out of these fractures and creates a clot that releases cartilage-building cells. The most common marrow stimulation procedure is called microfracture.
To repair small cartilage injuries, the surgeon can remove a small plug of a patient’s own healthy cartilage from a non-weight-bearing area of the knee joint and insert it into the injured area. This treatment is similar to a hair-plug transfer.
For very large cartilage injuries and those that involve bone and cartilage loss, the surgeon may obtain tissue from a donated cadaver. The implant contains portions of both bone and cartilage, and may provide relief from injuries that penetrate the bone.
CARTICEL is a biologic product used to repair articular cartilage injuries in adults who have not responded to a prior arthroscopic or other surgical repair procedure. It uses your body’s own cultured cells to form new hyaline-like cartilage in your knee following a surgical procedure called autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI). CARTICEL is the name of the cells that are grown from the samples (or biopsy) taken from your knee. CARTICEL poses little risk of disease transmission to you since it comes from your own tissue. CARTICEL is not indicated for the treatment of cartilage damage associated with generalized osteoarthritis.
Ready to proceed with CARTICEL? You’re already on the right path.
Need Help with Knee Vocabulary?
Our interactive knee glossary can help you.
Check out our FAQs for answers—or contact a Carticel Care® Coordinator at 800-453-6948, Option #2, for more detailed information.
Email a question