What is an Autologous Chondrocyte Transplantation?

Within the knee joint, cartilage absorbs shock between the bones and provides stability. Age-related degeneration, arthritis, illness and traumatic injury can damage these reserves of cartilage and often lead to debilitating symptoms, such as pain, swelling and immobility. To restore cartilage and overall well-being, many patients choose to undergo an advanced procedure known as an autologous chondrocyte transplantation or implantation – Otherwise known as an “ACI.”

An ACI takes place in two separate stages:

  • During the initial arthroscopic procedure, a surgeon uses minimally invasive techniques and a tiny camera to remove a fragment of articular cartilage from the patient’s knee. These cells are then transferred to a lab, where they expand in a controlled setting. After about 4 – 6 weeks, the developed cells are sent back to the surgeon and a second operation is scheduled.
  • The second procedure involves the surgeon removing a small patch of the periosteum, an area of thick tissue covering the shin bone. The periosteal patch is secured over the area of cartilage damage. The new, healthy cultured cartilage cells are injected beneath the patch. The impaired area receives fresh cartilage tissue, which usually reduces symptoms and leads to vastly improved function in the knee joint.

After an ACI procedure, a regimen of rest and physical therapy encourages optimal healing. The wide majority of patients report a pain-free return to the activities they love, including sports and other high-energy activities.

Our Treatment Approach

At OrthoCARE Institute, your health and quality of life is our first priority. From diagnosis to recovery, we are committed to providing personalized, innovative care that exceeds your expectations. If you believe you are suffering from worn knee cartilage, it is in your best interest to seek medical attention before your condition drastically worsens.

During your initial consultation at OrthoCARE Institute, we will carefully evaluate your symptoms, medical history and physical state to obtain a comprehensive diagnosis. Our team of experienced orthopedic specialists will then create a treatment plan to meet your unique needs and goals.

Generally, we encourage exploring conservative treatment options first before considering surgery. For some patients, however, surgical intervention may become necessary. If you become a candidate for an autologous chondrocyte transplantation, your doctor will discuss the procedure with you in detail and may conduct additional diagnostic or imaging tests.

Throughout every step of the healing process, our team is here for you. Our goal is to help you live an active, pain-free life unhindered by troublesome joint-related issues. For more information about autologous chondrocyte transplantations or how OrthoCARE Institute can help, do not hesitate to get in touch by calling us directly at 972-573-7802 or filling out the form on our Contact Us page.