Cartilage is the smooth tissue that lines the bones in the knee. Cartilage is crucial for cushioning the joint and allowing it to move smoothly, and injuries to the cartilage can make movement difficult or painful. In the past, when the cartilage became worn, injured, or detached, a knee replacement was often the only option for treatment. Today, cartilage restoration can resurface the tissue in the knee and prevent the need for a more drastic procedure.
At Marin Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, we work hard to help patients return to their healthy, active lives. Cartilage restoration is a great option for patients who are active and experiencing problems with the cartilage lining their joints.
Who needs cartilage restoration?
Cartilage restoration procedures for the knee are usually recommended for patients who have a single injury or lesion. Younger patients are also more likely to undergo cartilage restoration. Older patients with knee problems often don’t benefit from cartilage restoration procedures, and patients over 50 may need a full knee replacement or another procedure.
Cartilage Restoration Procedures
Most of the body’s tissues are adept at healing themselves, but cartilage is one type of tissue that does not heal on its own very well. This inability to heal is partly because cartilage does not naturally have much contact with blood or the healing/growth factors it carries. In general, the goal of these procedures is to remove damaged cartilage and stimulate healthy cartilage growth. Most cartilage restoration procedures work by giving the cartilage access to the body’s natural healing channels.
Various procedures fall under the umbrella of cartilage restoration. Methods such as microfracture, drilling, and abrasion arthroplasty all work in the same basic way: by removing damaged cartilage and stimulating the bone beneath. Making tiny holes in the bone beneath the cartilage increases blood flow and releases natural growth factors. When the cartilage has more access to these resources, the body can create new cartilage in the injured area.
Sometimes, the cartilage defect is too large to heal itself. In these situations, the surgeon will use cartilage from another part of the knee as a graft. The surgeon will then place this cartilage graft over the injured area so that it can heal. If a graft is necessary, you will probably need open surgery to ensure the surgeon can place the graft properly — but many cartilage restoration procedures can be done using arthroscopic tools, which are less invasive.
Cartilage Restoration in Marin County, CA
At Marin Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, our staff takes pride in using the most advanced and least invasive methods to repair cartilage injuries. New developments in the field of orthopedic surgery have made it much easier to repair knee problems that, in the past, would have required a full knee replacement for treatment.
To learn more about our practice or to find out if cartilage restoration is right for you, give our office in Novato, CA, a call. One of our staff members will be happy to help you schedule a consultation with one of our joint specialists.