Frequently knee pain is caused by cartilage surface defects which may develop from trauma or gradual wear. The pain may be sharp, achy, or both. There may or may not be joint swelling and/or feelings of stiffness. Symptoms may present acutely following trauma but often develop slowly and without knowledge of anything specifically having happened to the knee. Visually these surface abnormalities can be likened to a pothole in which there has been isolated wear through the cartilage surface down to bone.
If these so-called “potholes” are left untreated they may progress to become quite large and eventually involve both sides of the joint. Once wear occurs to involve both sides of the joint such as a bone-on-bone situation, then treatment options become very limited and restoration procedures are at that point eliminated. Joint replacement surgery becomes essentially the only viable long-term option.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could take a tic-tac size piece of cartilage from your knee, grow your own cartilage in the lab, and restore your joint surface by filling in the defects with your own cells? Well, at AOS you can!
We can take a small piece of cartilage from your knee joint and grow it in the laboratory. The grown cells are then attached to a membrane which is then inserted into the defect of the knee, secured with a biologic glue. Over a several month period of time these cells may grow and fill in the defect, thus biologically restoring the damaged joint surface. I believe these types of procedures offer the best long-term solution to this kind of knee problem. I believe that AOS has the most experience and commitment to these type of biological solutions for joint surface defects.
If you are between the ages of 15 and 60 and are having problems with pain or swelling in your knee, please ask Dr. Sites or one of the AOS physicians for an evaluation.