The Articular Cartilage is the smooth gliding surface found within the joints of the body. It is made of different molecules and living cells, which help create a nearly frictionless surface. This allows the joints to bend, glide, and absorb shocks. The surface of the cartilage can sustain damage from trauma, aging, or overuse. There is a wide spectrum of cartilage injuries, ranging from localized defects to end-stage osteoarthritis.
Dr. Elkin specializes in cartilage restoration procedures, which aim to repair or replace the damaged cartilage in order to restore normal joint function. Depending on the type of cartilage injury present, we can oftentimes improve the function of dysfunctional joints, while relieving pain and preventing the progression of arthritis.
Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI)
This specialized procedure implants a patient’s own cartilage cells back into their knee. It is performed in two stages: First, we perform an arthroscopy to assess the area of damage and clean any loose edges. A biopsy is also taken of the normal cartilage and then sent to a lab where it can be stored and later expanded. For the second stage, we take your own cartilage and implant it into the area of cartilage loss. The benefits of ACI are that it can be utilized for irregularly sized defects, very large defects, and multiple defects. more information
Osteochondral Allograft Transplantation
This is a single-stage cartilage transplantation, where a plug is taken from a size-matched donor and transplanted into the patient’s knee. The plug is made of both cartilage and the underlying bone, which allows this technique to replace the underlying bone if it is damaged. The healthy plug of cartilage and bone is harvested from the donor (cadaver) and transplanted into the recipient. Generally, we perform this type of transplantation when there is underlying bony involvement or when other cartilage restoration procedures have failed (such as after microfracture). When planning for this procedure, we perform measurements based on your MRI scan and Xrays, which are matched with a donor. Once a match is found, there is usually a short window of a couple weeks when the graft can be implanted. Even though it is a transplantation from another individual, there is no need to take any medications afterwards, and all of the grafts are rigorously tested to ensure there will be no disease transfer.
In some situations, the alignment of the joint may be abnormal, which may exacerbate cartilage damage. To unload the area of damage an osteotomy can be utilized to realign the joint. An osteotomy involves cutting the bone, realigning it, and securing the bone in its new position with metal hardware. If there is a critical alignment issue, we will often recommend an osteotomy to help preserve a cartilage restoration procedure. Some of the more common osteotomies are the Tibial Tubercle Osteotomy to unload the patella, High Tibial Osteotomy to correct bow-legging (varus), and Distal Femoral Osteotomy to correct knock-knees (valgus).
Dr. Daniel Elkin is a leading Orthopedic Surgeon performing Cartilage Restoration Surgery in the Willamette Valley. He specializes in complex knee reconstruction and knee arthroscopy and is conveniently located in Salem, Oregon