Autologous Chondrocyte Transplantation


An autologous chondrocyte transplantation replaces damaged cartilage in the knee joint with healthy cells. The healthy, restored cartilage is harvested from other sections of the knee and is grown in lab so the implantation can prove effective and successful.


The patient may undergo general anesthesia, sedation or local anesthetics to begin the surgery. The area is also cleansed and sterilized to prevent any infection from developing.

Accessing the Knee

An arthroscopic camera and small surgical tools are inserted through two to five small incisions.

Harvesting the Cells

When the healthy cartilage cells are collected from the knee joint, they’re sent to a lab and cultured to grow into strong new cells. New cartilage growth takes about four to six weeks to fully grow. Once the cells have successfully grown, the patient will return for a secondary implementation procedure.

Preparing to Implant the Cells

The patient will receive general anesthesia before any surgical procedure commences.

Harvesting a Patch

The surgeon will make an incision on the side of the patella near the front of the knee for easy access to the damaged cartilage. A second incision will be made on top of the tibia and a small amount of tissue above the tibial bone – the periosteum – is harvested for use.

Applying the Patch

The periosteal patch is sewn over the area of damaged cartilage creating a secure seal. The healthy, cultured cartilage cells are injected underneath the patch.

End of Procedure and Aftercare

The incision is sealed up and bandaged during a one to two day hospital stay. Physical therapy will follow and weight bearing should be restricted for at least six to eight weeks to prevent any further complications from forming. Total recovery can be seen at a twelve-month mark.

Cartilage Restoration in Chicago

Cartilage is a vital component to a fully functioning joint. Without it, a patient will experience bone on bone contact creating lasting chronic pain and further damage to the joint. Contact the orthopedic specialists at IBJI for comprehensive support and efficient cartilage restoration.

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