Knee Cartilage Injury Treatment
Initial treatment of knee cartilage injuries includes physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and corticosteroid injections.
Surgery is usually not necessary when the cartilage defect is small and/or asymptomatic. Surgery to restore articular cartilage may be considered for patients with larger areas of damage, or where conservative treatment fails.
The goals of articular cartilage repair are to provide pain relief, improve range of motion, slow progression of damage, and delay the need for joint replacement surgery.
Defects smaller than 2 cm can be treated arthroscopically, whereas larger defects may require transplantation of cartilage from other areas of the joint. Most of cartilage restoration procedures are done arthroscopically.
Surgical procedures for cartilage restoration include:
- Microfracture. Numerous tiny holes in injured joint surface are created using a special tool. These holes are made in the bone under the cartilage (subchondral bone), creating new blood supply which stimulates the growth of new cartilage.
- Drilling: Similar to microfracture, multiple holes are created in the injured joint area.
- Abrasion arthroplasty: This is similar to drilling but involves the use of high speed burrs to remove damaged cartilage.
- Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI)