Some patients may develop knee symptoms related to small defects in the articular cartilage (shiny surface on the end of the bones). These may be related to trauma , but sometimes there is no history of significant injury.
Various techniques may be discussed with you to try and repair these defects. These include microfracture techniques and MACI (Cartilage implantation). Sometimes they are combined with operations to realign your knee or ligament reconstructions.
MACI involves an initial key-hole operation where cartilage cells are harvested from your knee. These are then grown in the laboratory before being reimplanted to cover the cartilage defect at a second operation.
Following the operation a careful rehabilitation programme will be instituted with close collaboration with your physiotherapist.
In Oxford we have been involved in a large multi-centre study looking at the results of cartilage reimplantation surgery.