Osteoarthritis (worn cartilage) is the most common joint condition. The most common form of osteoarthritis is osteoarthritis of the knee. Osteoarthritis of the knee causes chronic pain and limits movement. The cartilage in the knee wears away over many years. Since the cartilage has no sensory nerve endings (pain sensors), the damage is only noticed when the defects already affect the bone beneath the cartilage.


A cartilage transplant, or cartilage cell or chondrocyte transplant, is a new surgical procedure: in which cartilage damage is repaired using cartilage cells from the patient’s own body.

Before labral repair

Before Labral Repair

After Labral Repair

The Goals of a Cartilage Cell Transplant of the Knee:

  1. Reduce pain due to knee osteoarthritis
  2. Restoring the ability to bear weight and play sports
  3. Improve flexibility
  4. Restore the cartilage layer
  5. Prevent a joint replacement
  6. Preserve the joint and prevent osteoarthritis of the knee

Cartilage Transplant for Knee Joint:

Who requires cartilage transplant:

Young individuals- Sports injuries, traffic accidents, osteochondritis dissecans(ocd)

Elderly- Age related joint degeneration


What are the Symptoms:

Acute injury- Pain, swelling, difficulty in movement, locking of joint

Chronic injury/ Degeneration- Pain, stiffness, difficulty in movement.

What are the next steps after cartilage transplantation?

Needs immediate attention. Consult an orthopedic surgeon for physical exam.

What investigations are needed?

X-ray to rule out any associated fracture, arthritis, bone overgrowth, bone defect and mri scan to identify the exact problem- such as cartilage defect, arthritis or associated injuries to other joint structures such as acl/pcl/meniscus.


Why does a Cartilage Injury Require Intervention:

Cartilage injury do not improve over time on their own-being inside the joint, the blood circulation to joint cartilage is poor- instead become worse; affecting the patients quality of life.


Treatments options for Cartilage Transplantation:

Depends upon:

  1. Age and activity level
  2. Cartilage defect location, size and depth

 For young patients+ high activity- cartilage cell therapy

 For old patients+ low activity- knee replacement.


Cartilage Cell Therapy:

2 Stage Procedure:

Stage 1:

Arthroscopy+ cartilage tissue biopsy- removing a small volume of patients joint cartilage from non weight bearing region of the joint- which is sent to lab for culture to multiply the cells.

Stage 2:

Arthroscopy+ cartilage tissue implantation-after 4-6 weeks, the cartilage defect is prepared to recieve the cells by implantation of cultured cartilage cells mixed with tissue glue to promote new healthy cartilage formation.


When Can the Patient Return to Sports?

Rehab starts immediately after surgery. Can start to low impact sports/ recreational activity from 3 months post surgery onwards. DOCTOR SUGGESTION

Knee Cartilage Transplant Surgery

A Cartilage transplant, also known as a cartilage also known as a cartilage cell transplant or chondrocyte transplant is a brand new surgical procedure in which the cartilage damaged is repaired by using cartilage cells that come from the patient’s body. A few knee surgeons in Germany can successfully carry out this procedure.


Cartilage Transplant Recovery

How long will it take to recover after cartilage surgery? In general patients are expected to spend three days in the hospital, and will utilize crutches for the next 8 weeks. They may return to stationary cycling within 4 to 6 weeks, and swimming or the elliptical trainer after 8-12 weeks as well as light jogging around one year.


Knee Cartilage Transplant Procedure Recovery Time

The majority of patients can resume some form of physical activity within about six to eight weeks however, full recovery following cartilage repair surgery may be anywhere between three and six months.