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Author Topic: NO CARTILAGE!!  HELP  (Read 945 times)

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Offline jade32

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« on: October 05, 2004, 08:13:26 AM »
After a bad auto accident years ago I have been left with vitually no cartilage in my knee, bone on bone!  I have been told that eventually (when the pain is unbareable) that I will have to have a total knee replacement and it will last approx. 10 years, is this right?
I have since heard that cartilage growing and replacement is available, could this be an option?
Or does anyone know of any treatments that may be an option for me?
Please, if anyone can help, I would appreciate this greatly.
All the best,


Offline Heather M.

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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2004, 09:00:45 AM »

The most simple way to get you started is to have you read a very educational overview of chondral lesions--that is, damaged cartilage in the knee.  This is a great, easy to understand link--be sure to go through all six sections, from overview to diagnosis to treatment to FAQ's.  It's a great place to start:  

I'm also assuming you've already read through the kneeguru's knee overview at the 'general info link' at the top of this page.  If not, step 5 on the steps to enlightenment deals with patellae, and the other steps that follow give you a good overview of arthritis of the knee.

Hopefully some of this information can help you.  To answer your main question:  Yes, articular cartilage from the knee can be harvested during an arthroscopic surgery.  The cartilage cells are then sent to a company called Genzyme, which cultures the cells in a lab to mulitiply them.  6-8 weeks later, the cells are sent back to your doctor and implanted in your knee during an open surgery.  This whole method is called ACI or Carticel procedure, which means autologous chondrocyte implantaion--meaning hyaline cartilage cells from your own body are taken from one place and implanted in another.  Don't get too hung up on the medical just need the terms Carticel and/or ACI to get by.  The bad news about ACI/Carticel is that it's not appropriate for every patient.  The success rate depends on a lot of factors, including where the damage is located in the knee, how many other parts of the knee are also impacted, the patient's age, general fitness, post-op expectations, compliance with VERY tough and prolonged rehabilitation protocol, etc.

Another section that deals with the topic of chondral lesions/cartilage damage is the patello-femoral joint, section under the SPECIFIC KNEE TOPICS - Where knee problems start section, which is a little more than halfway down on the main bulletin board page.  This is where a lot of folks who have problems with bad knee mechanics and/or have had a trauma to the knee resulting in cartilage damage go to read and exchange ideas/information.

The last section of the bulletin board home page is called KNEE ARTHRITIS - The Common Pathway - managing the damaged joint surface .  All of the sub-sections in this area deal with various ways to treat arthritis of the knee.  So you know, there are 5-6 main procedures to treat arthritis surgically, and each of these has its own section (along with supplements, injections, and non-surgical ways of treating the problem).  There is not as much traffic in this knee arthritis section as the ones farther up like the patello-femoral joint area, but there is a lot of good information archived there.  

Finally, the section we are posting in right now, The Daily Bulletin has lots of traffic and lots of folks suffering from the same problem you have...myself included.  :'(  The General Knee Questions and the Struggling with Rehab & Pain Problems threads are very active, and you will find lots of company there.

If you are looking for information *outside* of this web page, read through the comments and links I posted in response to the question of another member (Margaret) about cartilage damage like yours.  I put lots of hyperlinks to some knee pages I have found very useful in the past.  Here's my response to Margaret (in two posts):;action=display;num=1072423595;start=300#300

I know it's an overwhelming amount of information, and it will take a bit of time for you to absorb.  Feel free to ask any questions. You might also want to print out the infromation contained on the most helpful web pages and bring those sections to your next doctor's appointment.  And as always, people here will be lining up to help you with your research.

« Last Edit: October 05, 2004, 09:01:41 AM by hmaxwell »
Scope #1: LR, part. menisectomy w/cyst, chondroplasty
#2-#5: Lysis of adhesions/scar tissue, AIR, patellar tendon debridement, infections, MUA, insufflation
#6: IT band release / Z-Plasty, synovectomy, LOA/AIR, chondroplasty
2006 Arthrofibrosis, patella baja