The ends of the bones forming the knee are coated with a structure similar to the smooth paint on the wall. This is known as the articular cartilage. This structure prevents undue friction and resultant wear between the two surfaces.
Consequent to injury, small areas might lose this protective cartilage thus exposing bear bone. This causes pain, swelling, locking and subjective instability at times. Recent techniques allow us to restore small patches of cartilage loss by either:
Transferring cartilage from other sites in the same knee which do not bear weight, to these weight bearing sites (OATS, Osteoarticular Autografts) Withdrawing cartilage cells from the knee, making them proliferate under controlled conditions in a lab, and then restoring the defect in the knee (Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation)
Reconstructing slightly larger areas with matching surfaces from a cadaver (Osteoarticular Allografts) Areas upto 10cm2 can be restored with such procedures.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Patients are normally young active individuals. They are admitted on the day of surgery. Unlike the other two procedures, ACI is a two stage process - the first involves extracting cells and the next, approximately 2 months later, involves implanting cultured cells. Patients are discharged either the same evening or the next morning.
Stitches are removed at 2 weeks. Patients pursue a supervised rehabilitation protocol which includes non weight bearing crutch walking for 6 weeks approximately. Normal walking is achieved by 10-12 weeks.
Patients return to unrestricted activity including high demand sports after this surgery.
Articular Cartilage Restoration & Regeneration holds immense potential for sportpersons and young active individuals.