Cartilage Repair involves various techniques to restore damaged joint or articular cartilage.


The marrow-stimulation technique of microfracture employs a small pick to create tiny holes through the hard base layer of the damaged area, allowing blood and the patient's own stem cells to enter the area and start the healing process.


Autologous cartilage implantation (ACI) is a 2-stage cartilage repair procedure where cartilage cells are harvested and multiplied in a laboratory before being returned to the patient and injected behind a membrane.


Mosaicplasty is a 1-stage technique of osteochondral implantation, where larger defects are packed with small plugs of bone and cartilage taken from a less essential part of the joint.


Techniques of cartilage repair

Cartilage repair is an umbrella term for a number of techniques all aimed at helping the joint cartilage to repair a defect. This may involve puncturing the base plate under the joint cartilage to allow bleeding and inflow of healing cells (microfracture), transplant of a core of bone and cartilage into a defect (osteochondral graft), injection of cultured stem cells behind a membrane (ACI) and various other techniques.

articular cartilage repair
joint cartilage repair
hyaline cartilage repair

A video interview with knee surgeon Peter Thompson regarding cartilage repair options

An interpretation of an article published in the orthopaedic literature in 2012.

Dr Adrian Wilson discusses frankly his own views on ACI procedures.

This is the editor's 'interpretation' of a 2011 publication in the medical journals that gives an overview of cartilage injury, a brief description of current treatment options and outcomes, and a discussion of principles and techniques of MACI.

Which articular cartilage repair procedure?

Part 3 of an in-depth review on Articular Cartilage Repair by Karen Hambly PhD BSc MCSP (Sports Scientist/Physiotherapist).



Cartilage repair in the degenerative ageing knee. Brittberg M, Gomoll AH, Canseco JA, Farr J, Lind M and Hui J. Acta Orthop. 2016 Dec; 87(Suppl 363): 26–38.

Evolution of Autologous Chondrocyte Repair and Comparison to Other Cartilage Repair Techniques. Dewan AK, Gibson MA, Elisseeff JH, and Trice ME. Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014: 272481.

See also:


eBook - Knee arthritis interventions when you are too young for a total knee replacement

An easy-to-read ebook explaining what options a patient might have if they have arthritis but are too young for a knee replacement.


List - Who's Who in Articular Cartilage Repair?

Our list of surgeons that we understand to have special expertise in cartilage repair.