The smooth, white tissue that covers the end of bones that connect together is known as articular cartilage. Such cartilage allow your joints to move seamlessly, while also supporting the bones ability to glide over each other without creating tension. Patients can damage their articular cartilage through repetition of movement or stress that gradually develops over time.
Because the body is not able to replenish or address damaged cartilage on its own, our Atlanta orthopedic doctors utilize particular treatment techniques that help stimulate the development of new cartilage. Treating damaged or strained articular cartilage can help reduce pain and support greater functionality. Even more so, treating damaged cartilage can have prevent the development of arthritis.
Diagnosing Articular Cartilage Damage
In most situations where patients experience joint injuries or ligament tears, they also sustain cartilage damage. Depending on the condition, it may be difficult to diagnose articular cartilage damage since particular portions of your cartilage do not contain calcium and can not be detected with an X-ray device. If there are additional injuries or damage that affects the cartilage, an orthopedic doctor can address such issues during treatment.
Who Is Eligible For Articular Cartilage Treatment
Most patients who are eligible for articular cartilage restoration are between the ages of 18 and 34 and have one specific injury or lesion. Those who are older in age or have numerous lesions within one joint are less likely to benefit from invasive forms of treatment.
Invasive Treatment Procedures
Most invasive treatment procedures used to restore articular cartilage are performed arthroscopically. During this procedure, your orthopedic surgeon creates three small, puncture incisions near the joint using an arthroscope. Some cases demand that the surgeon has complete access to the damaged area. The benefits of performing an arthroscopic procedure opposed to traditional open surgery is that the recovery process is usually much faster and less painful. Your orthopedic doctor will explain which options are appropriate for your specific needs and will help you decide which type provides the greatest potential results.
Common Procedures for Cartilage Restoration
- Micro fracture
- Abrasion Arthroplasty
- Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation
- Osteochondral Autograft Transplantation
- Osteochondral Allograft Transplantation
Recovering From Articular Cartilage Restoration
After treatment, the joint surface needs to be shielded from external pressures while the cartilage recovers. If you received treatment on one of your knees or ankles, you will not be able to apply weight to the injured area for some time. You may need to use crutches or some type of mobile device for several weeks after your treatment procedure. Your orthopedic doctor may recommend physical therapy to help restore flexibility to the injured joint and restrengthen the surrounding muscles.
You can learn more about our approach to treating damaged cartilage or articular cartilage restoration by scheduling an appointment at our office. We are open Monday through Sunday and appointments can be made online or by dialing (404) 855-2141.