Cartilage treatment

Cartilage damageCartilage damage can result from accidents, infections, bone disease or the ageing process. The treatment required largely depends on the cause and extent of the cartilage damage.

Before replacing the affected joint (endoprosthetic surgery), any joint deformity (bandy legs or knock knees) should first be corrected. This is a gentle process that preserves your own joints and enhances the ability of the cartilage to withstand pressure and stress (corrective osteotomy).

Further options in cartilage treatment are intra-articular injection with hyaluronic acid and autologous blood injections with specially treated serum (autologous conditioned serum – ACP). Both methods improve the viscosity of the cartilage.

Bio-remodelling

For more severely damaged cartilage, bio-remodelling, which stimulates the body’s own cartilage formation, may be suitable. There are several bio-remodelling processes: microfracturing, cartilage cell transplantation and autologous chondrocyte transplantation.

Microfracturing

MicrofracturingThe microfracturing process involves drilling small holes that do not affect the stability of the cartilage into the cartilage and the underlying bone layer, in the area in which the cartilage is damaged. This can stimulate the body to form durable replacement cartilage. For this method you need to relieve pressure on the affected joint for about four to six weeks.

Chondrocyte transplantation

Chondrocyte transplantationIn cartilage cell transplants, small cylinders of cartilage bone are removed from a healthy, less weight-bearing area of the joint and inserted into the damaged cartilage of the joint (autologous osteochondral transplantation – OATS). Once the transplants have been assimilated, they form cartilage that can function under pressure again. With this method too, you must keep the affected joint immobilised for about six weeks.

Chondrocyte transplantation is suitable if your cartilage is only slightly damaged and you still have healthy cartilage in the joint.

Autologous chondrocyte transplantation

Another method is autologous chondrocyte transplantation (ACT). The doctor first takes healthy cartilage from the affected joint by arthroscopy. This is grown in a laboratory and introduced in place of the damaged cartilage with a special matrix during a second operation. New cartilage forms from the matrix. The resulting is more than 90 percent identical to the original cartilage.

Bio-remodelling processes improve the complaints of most patients, and in many cases can serve to delay a joint replacement procedure for years.

At the orthopädie elisenhof clinic we will be very happy to discuss your options for cartilage therapy with you.