Scott & White Healthcare – Round Rock is performing several types of knee “articular” cartilage procedures in patients who suffer from a traumatic injury, congenital defect, or certain kinds of osteoarthritis. The procedures, done either arthroscopically or as open surgery, range from stimulating the body to repair the damaged tissue on its own to those that involve transplanting bone and cartilage from cadavers to replace the defective tissue. Candidates for cartilage transplantation include patients with a small, localized area of cartilage damage.
“With cartilage transplantation, our goal is to bring normal tissue back to the injured area to try to restore the weight-bearing cartilage surface as best as possible,” said Darryl B. Thomas, M.D, sports medicine fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon at Scott & White – Round Rock and a leader in the field of cartilage transplantation. “These procedures may offer active patients a way to get back to an athletic lifestyle with relatively pain-free range of motion.”
Cartilage transplantation uses grafts of cartilage and bone that are taken from the patient’s own tissue or from a donor cadaver. The grafts are harvested from a non-weight bearing part of the donor knee which has a supply of healthy “articular” cartilage. They are then transplanted into the patient’s knee at the site of “articular” damage. “To allow patients to continue to be physically active as long as possible, I try to do everything I can to repair, restore, or resurface the knee’s cartilage surface and prevent them from needing a total knee replacement early in life. This is especially true when the patient had a cartilage injury or other sports-related injury at a young age. It’s better in the long run to restore or repair your own knee cartilage if at all possible.”
As with any surgical procedure, there is a small risk of infection. Additionally, because donor cartilage may be used, there is some minor risk of disease transmission. “Graft rejection, however, is not usually a problem,” said Dr. Thomas. “Although these procedures can require a prolonged post-operative rehabilitation period, they offer patients a chance to return to a relatively normal lifestyle, when no other good surgical options are available.”
View the full press release here.