Cartilage, the protective surface that covers the ends of our bones, helps our joints move smoothly and without pain. Cartilage may become damaged with age, wear and tear, or injury. This wearing away of the cartilage surface and the associated symptoms of pain, stiffness and swelling is known as arthritis. Currently, there are limited options to address the early stages of arthritis when the cartilage wear is diffuse (wide spread) on the joint surface. Arthroscopic procedures can clean up the torn, worn out edges of the cartilage, and treat limited areas of cartilage damage to successfully improve symptoms and function.
Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation: This two-stage surgery involves first harvesting cartilage cells, and then allowing them to grow in a lab environment. Later, in a second surgery, a thin layer of periosteal tissue is placed over or a synthetic collagen matrix is placed in the cartilage defect, and then the cells are injected into the space in attempt to regrow and fill in the gap.
Osteochondral Autologous Transfer (OATs): A piece of healthy bone and cartilage is harvested from a lesser weight-bearing area of another joint and then transferred into the damaged area.
Osteochondral Allograft Transplant: In patients that have larger defects, a bone and cartilage plug from a cadaver is transplanted into the cartilage-deficient area.
Abrasionplasty: The cartilage defect is debrided back to stable borders and the base of the lesion is abraded to a bleeding surface to allow blood and marrow elements to fill to defect.
Microfracture: A similar concept to the abrasionplasty procedure in which deeper holes are created to access the blood and marrow components.
Dr. Chudik performs cartilage repair and transplant procedures arthroscopically with small incisions. Arthroscopic shavers and ablations instruments are used to remove and contour the torn loose edges of cartilage and there are several options for cartilage restoration, depending on the specific location and severity of the cartilage damage.
You may return to activities when there is no pain and full shoulder range of motion, muscle strength and endurance, and functional use has been restored. This usually requires four to six months following a cartilage. Dr. Chudik will tell you when it is safe to resume activities. Depending on the severity of the cartilage damage and the type of repair, Dr. Chudik may advise you about recommended activity restrictions.