Treatment with CARTICEL1,2

CARTICEL uses your own cartilage cells (chondrocytes) to treat and repair the articular cartilage damage in your knee. When implanted into a knee cartilage injury, your own cells can form new cartilage; this new cartilage is very similar to your original cartilage. The CARTICEL implantation procedure is called Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation or ACI. It is a two-step treatment process.

Step 1: Cartilage Biopsy

Illustration of biopsy harvest site on knee bone, and biopsy transportation tube

Knee Cartilage Arthroscopy and Biopsy

In the first step of the treatment, during an arthroscopic procedure, your surgeon assesses the extent of your cartilage damage. If your surgeon believes you are a candidate for CARTICEL implantation, he may take a sample or “biopsy” of healthy tissue about the size of two Tic-Tacs®3. This sample is sent to Genzyme Biosurgery.

CARTICEL Manufacturing and Delivery

Cartilage biopsy can be stored by the manufacturing facility for up to two years, so you can schedule your CARTICEL implantation surgery at your convenience. When you are ready, your cells are cultured at our state-of-the-art cell processing facility; over three to five weeks they increase to approximately 12 million cells. Every step of the manufacturing process is monitored to ensure high quality and safety. A courier delivers your cultured cells (CARTICEL) hours before your surgery.

Step 2: Implantation

Knee cartilage defect appearing trimmed and prepared

Cartilage Injury Cleaned

During the second stage of CARTICEL implantation, your surgeon makes an incision to expose your knee and removes any dead or damaged tissue from the injury, leaving only healthy tissue.

Image one depicts periosteal patch on bone surface. Image two depicts second incision location in relation to full leg.

Periosteal Patch

Your surgeon takes a small piece of tissue from your shin bone and sews it securely over the injury.

Cultured chondrocytes being injected beneath sutrured periosteal patchLesion is covered with periosteal patch and sutured

CARTICEL Implantation

Your surgeon injects CARTICEL under the patch.

When CARTICEL is surgically implanted into a cartilage injury, it can grow and form new hyaline-like cartilage, with properties similar to those of the original cartilage. Repairing the injury helps to reduce pain and improve movement and function.

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  1. Zaslav K, et al. A prospective study of autologous chondrocyte implantation in patients with failed prior treatment for articular cartilage defect of the knee: Results of the Study of the Treatment of Articular Repair (STAR) clinical trial. Am J Sports Med. 2009;37:42-55. doi:10.1177/0363546508322897.
  2. Data on file at Genzyme Corporation, Cambridge, MA.
  3. Tic Tac® is a registered trademark of Ferrero Inc.

About cartilage injuries of the knee


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