What Are Surgical Options for Cartilage Repair?

While being active and engaging in sporting activities is good for your health, it puts you at risk for joint injuries like articular cartilage damage.  However, it does not mean that you will have to stop playing.  After sustaining this type of injury, you will need Scottsdale cartilage repair to help the pain go away.  Cartilage repair will involve surgical and non-surgical treatments that you can explore to help you get back on your feet.  Non-surgical repair aims to lower symptoms and slow further cartilage damage, while surgical treatment will repair and restore the injured cartilage.  The discussion below will focus on the surgical options for repairing cartilage damage.


The procedure aims to stimulate new growth of articular cartilage by creating another blood supply.  During this procedure, your doctor will use an awl, a sharp tool, to drill holes in your joint below the cartilage.  Drilling holes will help start a healing process so that new blood supply will flow to your joint.  As a result, new cells will start forming your cartilage.  You will benefit from this treatment, especially if you are still young and have a healthy subchondral bone where your doctor will drill holes.


Although similar to microfracture, drilling uses an arthroscope to make several holes in your injured cartilage.  The drilling will penetrate your subchondral bone to stimulate a natural healing process, thus repairing the damaged cartilage.  However, this method may not be as precise as microfracture, and you may incur possible injury with heat from the drill.

Osteochondral Autograft

Your doctor will need to transfer a healthy cartilage tissue from one area of your non-weight-bearing bone and then transfer it to the damaged area to help in healing.  Before your doctor places the graft in the injured area, they will match it to see if it fits so it will leave a smooth cartilage surface.  Therefore, you will be able to move painlessly and smoothly.  Similar to this procedure is an osteochondral allograft which instead uses a donor graft to treat the damaged cartilage.

Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation

Also known as ACI, this procedure involves removing healthy cartilage from a non-weight-bearing joint.  Your doctor will then take the removed tissue to the laboratory to harvest chondrocytes and grow them for several weeks.  You will then go home and come back for your next visit, where your doctor will implant the grown chondrocytes into the damaged cartilage and patch it with glue.  The grown chondrocytes will start the process of forming new cartilage.

Matrix Autologous Cartilage Implantation

Similar to an ACI, this procedure involves removing healthy cartilage and taking them to the laboratory.  However, your doctor will grow the harvested chondrocytes on a collagen membrane.  Later, you will come for another surgery where your doctor will insert the new collagen membrane on the injured part of your articular cartilage.

Damage to the articular cartilage is a common injury for physically active persons and may worsen without medical evaluation.  The injury commonly affects the knee but may also affect other joints in your body, causing pain and discomfort, making daily activities hard to perform.  However, you can get different surgical options to treat articular cartilage damage and get relief.