Articular cartilage repair

Most commonly, articular cartilage repair is performed to treat a local cartilage defect and is not indicated for the treatment of generalized cartilage damage (for example, advanced osteoarthritis).
Repair can be done by autologous chondrocyte implantation, which involves harvesting, culturing, multiplying, and reimplanting autologous chondrocytes (cartilage cells of the same person), or by using cartilage substitutes.

How Is the Surgery Performed?

The procedure is typically performed under spinal anesthesia, and it takes from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours to complete.
The location and size of a cartilage lesion is identified arthroscopically. Considering the location of the identified lesion, an additional small incision is placed. The cartilage defect is covered with a cartilage substitute or cultured autologous chondrocytes, and the cover is sealed with fibrin glue.

What Should be Known After Surgery?

  • Weight bearing on the foot affected is allowed after 4 weeks;
  • Motions at the joint treated can be resumed already on the first day after the procedure;
  • It is recommended to apply ice to the operated joint for 2-4 days;
  • The wound should be redressed 1-2 times per week;
  • The sutures are removed after 10-14 days;
  • Physical activity should be restricted for 6 weeks;
  • Routine activities can be resumed completely within 2-3 months;
  • Partial weight bearing on the foot affected is allowed on the first day after the procedure.