Knee Cartilage Repair
- Chondroplasty: During this procedure, Dr.Waterman will trim away the damaged area of cartilage to alleviate the troublesome pain and swelling using an arthroscopic approach. This knee cartilage treatment is typically reserved for patients who do not have full thickness defects, or no bone to bone rubbing.
- Microfracture: During this procedure, Dr.Waterman will utilize a small pick to make holes in the defect’s bony surface. The holes allow the flow of marrow and stem cells which form a clot over the defect, eventually leading to a covering of a fibrocartilage layer. This technique is typically reserved for patients who have a full thickness loss of cartilage, or bone to bone rubbing.
- Autologous cartiage implantation (ACI): ACI is a two stage procedure where a biopsy of healthy cartilage is first removed from the knee. Cartilage cells are harvested from the biopsy tissue, expand in a lab, and the replanted in the patients knee during a second surgery to facilitate growth of new cartilage surfaces.
Recovery and Rehabilitation after Articular Cartilage Defects Surgery
Dr. Waterman and his team will provide a detailed physical therapy program for patients following a knee cartilage treatment. Post-operative management is unique for each patient and depends on the specific knee cartilage repair performed and the severity of the torn knee cartilage. Patients who underwent chondroplasty are typically instructed to use crutches for a few days and allowed tolerated weight bearing with full range of motion. Patients who underwent Microfracture, ACI or an OATs procedure are placed in a brace and weight bearing is protected for approximately six to eight weeks. Following surgery, a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine is generally used in these patients for six weeks. Typical time frame for maximum improvement following cartilage replacement is often six to twelve months.
At a Glance
Dr. Brian Waterman, MD
- Chief & Fellowship Director, Sports Medicine, Wake Forest
- Team Physician, Wake Forest University, Chicago White Sox
- Military affiliation/Decorated military officer and surgeon
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