Latest Cartilage Repair Treatments for Knee Injuries in NYC
The knee experiences a tremendous amount of stress on a daily basis. It bears the weight of the entire body and is integral to many everyday activities including walking, running, jumping and more. To function properly—that is, for the surfaces of the bones that make up the knee joint to glide smoothly over each other without friction—the knee relies on cartilage. Knee cartilage acts as a shock absorber, distributing force equally throughout the joint.
The cartilage of the knee is extremely strong, but despite this, it’s vulnerable to damage and deterioration from injuries and wear and tear over time. New York orthopedic surgeon, Dr. George Ackerman, specializes in the latest cartilage repair treatments for all types of knee injuries.
What kinds of cartilage injuries can occur in the knee?
There are many different types of knee cartilage injuries that can occur, ranging from lesions, holes, or divots in the surface of the cartilage to deterioration from chronic wear and tear. Osteoarthritis of the knee is also a form of knee cartilage injury.
What are the common causes of a knee cartilage injury?
Knee cartilage injuries can occur due to a variety of reasons, and most injuries requiring cartilage repair treatments are the result of trauma such as:
- A dislocation of the knee joint
- A tear in one of the supporting ligaments of the knee
- A tear in the meniscus—the cartilaginous pad within the knee joint that cushions it from shock
- A fall
- A direct impact to the knee
Cartilage injuries in the knee may also be due to infection or inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
What are the symptoms of a knee cartilage injury?
Depending on the type and severity of the injury, you may or may not have pain with a knee cartilage injury. If you do have pain, it may run the gamut from very mild to severe enough to interfere with your ability to walk. Often times, pain may be worse when you straighten, or attempt to straighten, your leg.
Other symptoms of knee cartilage injuries may include:
- Swelling: swelling in the knee may continue for weeks or even months
- Loss of function: you may have knee pain that interferes with movement or walking, or you may find that your knee “catches” or “locks” when you attempt to straighten it
What are the latest cartilage repair treatments for the knee that can help preserve the joint?
Dr. Ackerman specializes in customizing knee cartilage repair treatments to meet the unique needs of his patients. For less severe cartilage injuries, conservative therapies such as anti-inflammatory medications, rest, ice, compression, and elevation are often the first methods of treatment. In some cases, getting a cortisone injection may be recommended.
Commonly referred to as “gel” or “lubricant” injections, Hyaluronic Acid (HA) injections are another conservative treatment option for some cartilage conditions. HA injections supplement one of the key components of articular cartilage and may provide significant relief of knee arthritis symptoms.
One of the most exciting developments in the field of Regenerative Medicine is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). PRP is made from a patient’s own blood which is drawn in the office and spun in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets and growth factors. This can then be injected into the affected joint and used to promote the body’s own healing powers to improve symptoms and function.
When knee cartilage injuries are more severe, however, there are numerous cartilage repair treatments available including:
Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI)
In this procedure, healthy cartilage cells are taken from the patient’s body, grown and multiplied in a lab, then reintroduced in the injured area. Since they are your own cells, there’s no possibility of your body rejecting them and they naturally restore the damaged area.
Osteoarticular Autograft Transfer Surgery (OATS)
In this procedure, healthy cartilage is harvested from another area of the patient’s body and transferred to the location of the injury. This surgery is usually done arthroscopically and is suitable for very small injuries.
Osteochondral Allograft Transplantation
This procedure is more suitable for larger knee cartilage injuries, and uses a “plug” of both bone and cartilage which is shaped to fit the width and depth of the injury.
Another cell-transplantation technique, the Denovo graft uses juvenile cartilage cells harvested from donors rather than from the patient. These may be transplanted directly (Denovo NT) or cultured in the lab (Denovo ET).
Where can I find a knee cartilage repair specialist in New York?
When you’re faced with a painful knee cartilage injury, seeing a specialist is vital. NY Orthopedics’ fellowship trained sports medicine physician, Dr. George Ackerman, is an expert in providing the latest cartilage repair treatments for the knee—treatments designed to get you back to your active life, without knee pain. If you’ve experienced a knee cartilage injury, request a consultation with Dr. Ackerman today to learn more about your treatment options.