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:
    1. Radiofrequency coblation to smooth damaged cartilage
    2. Marrow stimulation techniques (micro/nanofracture) allows stem cells to grow into fibrocartilage filling the defect
    3. Use of Matrix or Gel scaffolds to aid Marrow stimulation
    4. 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?

4 months

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?

4 weeks

How long do I need to keep my dressing on for?

2 weeks

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