Damaged cartilage in your joints can be painful and prevent you from participating in the activities you love. Cartilage repair from orthopaedist Noah Weiss, MD, at Weiss Orthopaedics can help. Located in Novato in Northern Marin and Sonoma, California, Dr. Weiss and his team use state-of-the-art technology and advanced surgical techniques to repair damaged cartilage for more comfortable and functional joints. Discuss cartilage repair options by scheduling a consultation by phone at Weiss Orthopaedics today.
Cartilage repair is the term for a variety of procedures performed to repair damaged cartilage within a joint, like the knee or shoulder. Cartilage repair is performed when the protective cartilage that covers the ends of bones has been damaged or worn away due to trauma or wear-and-tear.
Signs of cartilage damage include joint pain, swelling, and locking. In many cases, the joint pain goes away over time, though the cartilage damage can still be problematic during certain activities and may prevent you from moving the joint comfortably through a full range of motion.
Dr. Weiss and his team determine if cartilage repair is right for you during a thorough consultation and physical exam. X-rays are taken in the office to assess the severity of your cartilage damage, and in some cases, an MRI may be ordered as well.
Cartilage repair is most successful for people with damaged cartilage in a single area of the joint, rather than throughout the joint. Extensive cartilage damage can be treated with other types of surgery, such as arthroscopy.
Cartilage repair is typically performed through a minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure that involves a small incision in your joint to allow a tiny camera and surgical tools to visualize and complete the surgery. The repair can be completed in different ways, including:
Microfracture involves making holes with a surgical tool in the exposed bone in order to increase blood supply to the joint, which stimulates new cartilage growth.
Drilling is similar to microfracture, but involves drilling holes into the bone rather than chiseling holes with a surgical awl tool.
Abrasion arthroplasty stimulates cartilage formation by sanding away the bone surface layers.
ACI is a two-step process, the first involving removal of healthy cartilage, which is sent to a lab to induce cell growth. The healthy cartilage grows in size before replacing the damaged cartilage in a second minor surgery.
An autograft involves taking a graft of healthy cartilage from another area within the same joint and applying it to the damaged area.
An allograft involves taking a tissue graft from a donor and applying it to the damaged area.
Different regenerative medicine products can be used to stimulate the natural growth of cartilage.
The method used for your cartilage repair depends on the extent of damage in your joint, your lifestyle, and your overall health.