What Is Cartilage?
Cartilage is rubber-like padding, a smooth and resilient tissue that protects the end of the bones that meet the joint. This structural component can be found in other body parts such as in vertebral discs, bronchial tube, nose, ear, and rib cage.
This smooth and shiny coating covers the ends of bones. It is responsible for the protection and easy movement of bones. When the cartilage is damaged, the resulting condition is called arthritis. If cartilage becomes thin, the ends of the bones cause pain.
If cartilage damage is caused by generalized arthritis, the condition is not the same as damaged cartilage of the groove or knee cap. A malalignment, direct knee trauma, or knee cap dislocation can cause this kind of cartilage damage. You can consider getting surgical treatments for cartilage repair in Atlanta.
Symptoms of Damaged Cartilage
- Pain that gets worse when you put more weight on your knee
- Catching, locking or joint instability
- A grinding or clicking sensation
- Direct trauma on the knee
- Kneecap dislocation
- Incorrect kneecap tracking
- Surgical treatments
- Knee cartilage surgeries
Knee Cartilage Surgeries
What is the function of knee cartilage?
As we have already mentioned, cartilage is the smooth shiny coating that covers the end of the knees. It not only protects the bones but also allows them to move efficiently and smoothly. When it is damaged, the condition is called arthritis. When cartilage gets thin, it causes pain.
How can cartilage get damaged?
Chronic friction, dislocation and any other trauma can damage cartilage. If this cartilage is damaged, it is not naturally regenerated.
How can cartilage be repaired?
It depends on factors such as the scope of the problem and your age. There are several procedures and your surgeon will have to choose from the options to perform in Atlanta. Here are the options:
- Microfracture. Microfracture is a well-known procedure for cartilage repair. This procedure involves the use of arthroscopy. First, any damaged or defective tissue is removed from your knee joint. At the site of the lesion, your surgeon will create small holes. This is done especially to allow bleeding, and eventually, it promotes healing.
A hybrid of fibrocartilage grows as the new tissue. This new type of cartilage is not exactly the same as the original cartilage, but it works the same way and it is pretty durable.
- DeNovo. The procedure involves removing damaged and defective cartilage tissue from your knee joint. The cartilage defect is then patched with the DeNovo cartilage cells. They can rejuvenate and grow.
Follow up MRIs may be required at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year and 2 years. The goal of these follow-up MRIs is to follow the maturation and growth of your new cartilage.
- Osteochondral Allograft. Just like the other procedures, it involves the removal of your damaged and defective cartilage tissue. The cartilage defect is then patched with allograft, bone, and cartilage. This cartilage does not grow or rejuvenate. But it gradually becomes your own, when your body grows new plugs.
- Autologous cultured chondrocytes on porcine collagen membrane (MACI). The surgeon uses arthroscopy to remove the damaged and defective cartilage tissue. She then sends healthy cartilage to a laboratory where the cells proliferate. The procedure of proliferation takes up to 6 weeks. After that time, the new cartilage cells are used to patch your damaged cartilage cells.
Does it cure osteoarthritis?
This is not a cure for osteoarthritis. The procedures we have discussed so far can cover a focal defect. Osteoarthritis tends to affect a more generalized area and that is why this treatment cannot cure this problem.
How long do patients of this surgery have to stay in the hospital?
This surgery is categorized as ambulatory surgery. That means this surgery is performed in a very short period of time in Atlanta, and you can go home on the same day.
What are the possible complications and risks?
Possible risks include postoperative infection and nerve damage. But any surgery has these risks. There are a couple of specific risks as well: post-operative stiffness and re-injury.
When can I go back to normal activities?
As long as you are taking pain medication, you may not drive. If the operation has been performed on your right knee, you will have to refrain from driving for about 6 weeks after the surgery.
Until your physician gives you specific clearance, you should not resume jogging. To some extent, this depends on the strength of your quadriceps. You can start biking once you have gained enough range of motion.
If you have focal cartilage injury and patellar instability, you may be a candidate for this surgery. Your surgeon will evaluate it by using X-ray and MRI and examining your past history. This is another good procedure for cartilage repair available in Atlanta.
The treatment works by treating your patellofemoral ligament. This ligament keeps your kneecap from displacing by stabilizing it. Disruption happens when your patella (kneecap) is dislocated. The ligament is stressed when your kneecap moves toward the outside. The result can be an ETA detachment of the ligament or tear of the MPFL.
Your surgeon makes two small incisions at the inside of your knee. She replaces the injured ligament with a graft and uses small absorbable screws to attach the graft to the patella. This procedure restores the cartilage defect.
Depending on the severity of cartilage damage and your age, your surgeon will choose a procedure such as a microfracture, DeNovo, OCA or MACI.
TTT + MPFL + Cartilage Procedure
If you have focal cartilage injury and front knee pain, you may be a candidate for this surgery. This is another effective surgical treatment for cartilage repair. A surgical procedure known as Fulkerson Osteotomy is used to fix patellar malalignment or patellar instability.
Below your kneecap, your surgeon will make an incision. It goes along the top part of the tibia. Your surgeon surgically cuts the patella and repositions it. Two metal screws are used to hold the new position. Then, a graft is used to replace the injured MPFL ligament. This graft is usually a cadaver allograft or a hamstring tendon. Small absorbable screws are used to attach the graft to the patella.
There are several methods that help restore the cartilage defect. These procedures include microfracture, DeNovo, OCA, or MACI.
This surgery requires you to stay overnight in the hospital in Atlanta. You can go home when you have successfully managed your pain. Like the other two surgical treatments described above, this treatment method puts some restrictions on your normal activities immediately after your surgery. You will have to wait for about 6 weeks before you can drive. To resume jogging, you may need to wait until 8-10 months after surgery.