Jul 29, 2022
Seeing as how the majority of sports put heavy pressure on one’s knees (and joints in general), it’s no wonder that a lot of athletes develop knee cartilage issues over the course of time.
Now, one reason why this type of damage is tricky is that cartilage doesn’t have its own blood supply. In other words, it cannot heal on its own. So, once it’s damaged, cartilage injuries may progress and symptoms may worsen. This can hold you back from participating in the activities you enjoy, unless you can find the proper treatment for it.
Cartilage injuries of the knee are especially troublesome for aspiring athletes, seeing as how pivoting, turning, and knee bending all contribute to increased stress on the cartilage tissue. As a result, there’s swelling, pain, locking, or a combination of these symptoms – all of which make it even harder for one to carry on with their sports career.
Surgical treatments for knee cartilage disease include arthroscopic debridement (“clean up”), transplantation of ones own cartilage tissue from elsewhere in the knee, transplantation of cartilage tissue from a donor and autologous chondrocyte implantation. As of late, there’s been a massive breakthrough with a novel procedure termed Matrix-Induced Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (MACI).
This two-step surgical procedure consists of an initial arthroscopic cartilage biopsy and subsequent implantation of new cartilage cells into the damaged area. It’s a procedure that’s believed to be particularly effective for large cartilage lesions without underlying bone loss.
In today’s episode, Dr. Ashley Bassett and Dr. Catherine Logan discuss this relatively new surgical option, thoroughly reviewed in a March 2021 paper.
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