Articular Cartilage Preservation and Repair
- There are multiple techniques and treatments options with variable indications and success rates and the appropriate options will be discussed
- Patient age, the site and size of the damage, the integrity of the meniscus and ACL, and alignment of the leg will determine the best option
- There are many injectable solutions which may help calm a damaged joint temporarily but these do not grow new cartilage and have variable evidence and outcomes. Examples include Steroid / Hyaluronic Acid / Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) / Autologous Protein Solution (APS)
- There are several surgical techniques and technologies which do preserve and repair articular cartilage including:
- Radiofrequency coblation to smooth damaged cartilage
- Marrow stimulation techniques (micro/nanofracture) allows stem cells to grow into fibrocartilage filling the defect
- Use of Matrix or Gel scaffolds to aid Marrow stimulation
- Augmentation is adding cells with growth potential to aid above two
- If there is underlying bone loss then osseochondral grafts may be used
- Post operative rehabilitation will involve protecting the repair either with limited weight bearing or range of motion requiring crutches or a brace
Frequently Asked Questions – Articular Cartilage preservation and repair
When should I start physiotherapy?
Before your outpatient appointment at 2 weeks post op
How long should I have physiotherapy for?
When can I drive?
4-6 weeks post op but depends on exact repair undertaken
Is pain expected?
Mild to moderate for 1-2 weeks
Will I be able to walk normally?
After 6 weeks but depends on repair
How long do I need to wear stockings for?
How long do I need to keep my dressing on for?
Can I go home by myself?
When can I start exercising?
6 weeks post procedure and with the advice from your Physiotherapist
When can I fly?
After 6 weeks
How long will I be off work for?
2-4 weeks or longer depending on repair