Articular cartilage is the tissue that covers the ends of bones where they meet to form joints. Its purpose is to facilitate smooth movement of the joints by reducing friction and allowing bones to glide over each other effortlessly. In most cases, articular cartilage repair is necessary to address localised cartilage defects and is not typically employed for the treatment of generalised cartilage damage, such as advanced osteoarthritis.
To repair articular cartilage, a procedure called autologous chondrocyte implantation can be performed. This process involves harvesting, culturing, multiplying, and subsequently re-implanting cartilage cells from the same individual (known as autologous chondrocytes). Alternatively, cartilage substitutes can also be used as part of the repair process.
The Procedure of Articular Cartilage Repair Surgery:
- Anesthesia: You will be given anesthesia to ensure a painless and comfortable experience during the surgery. The type of anesthesia used may vary based on your specific needs and the surgeon’s recommendation.
- Preparation: The surgical site will be cleaned and sterilised to reduce the risk of infection. The surrounding area will be draped to maintain a sterile field.
- Arthroscopy: In some cases, an arthroscope (a thin, flexible tube with a camera) may be inserted through small incisions near the joint. This allows the surgeon to visualise the damaged cartilage and surrounding structures.
- Cartilage Evaluation: The surgeon will carefully examine the damaged cartilage to assess its location, extent, and characteristics. This information helps in determining the most appropriate treatment approach.
- Cartilage Repair Technique: There are various techniques available for cartilage repair, including:
Microfracture: The surgeon creates small holes in the bone beneath the damaged cartilage, stimulating the formation of new cartilage tissue.
b. Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI): Healthy cartilage cells (chondrocytes) are harvested from a non-weight-bearing area of the joint, cultured in a laboratory to multiply, and then surgically implanted into the damaged area.
c. Osteochondral Autograft or Allograft Transplantation: Healthy cartilage and a small portion of underlying bone are transferred from a donor site (autograft) or a tissue bank (allograft) to replace the damaged cartilage.
d. Scaffold-Based Techniques: Synthetic or natural scaffolds are used to fill the defect, providing a framework for new cartilage growth.
- Closure: Once the cartilage repair procedure is completed, the incisions are closed using sutures or surgical staples. Sterile dressings may be applied to the surgical site.
- Postoperative Care: You will receive specific instructions on postoperative care, which may include pain management, physical therapy exercises, weight-bearing restrictions, and follow-up appointments to monitor your progress.
It’s important to note that the actual procedure may vary depending on the individual case and our surgeon’s preferred techniques. Your surgeon will provide you with personalised information and guidance based on your specific condition.
- Starting from the day after the procedure, you can gradually resume movements and activities involving the treated joint.
- It is recommended to apply ice to the affected joint for a period of two to four days to help reduce swelling and inflammation.
- The wound should be re-dressed once or twice a week to ensure proper healing.
- Sutures will typically be removed after a span of 10-14 days.
- After four weeks, you may begin bearing weight on the affected joint as directed by your surgeon or healthcare provider.
- For a period of six weeks, it is important to limit physical activity and follow any restrictions provided by your surgeon.
Complete resumption of routine activities can generally be expected within 2-3 months, but this timeline may vary based on individual circumstances.
Our affiliated clinics provide a comprehensive range of medical services all under one roof! With both surgical and rehabilitation treatments available in the same clinic, we aim to offer convenience and continuity of care. Rehabilitation plays a crucial role in the recovery process following a hip replacement and should be given significant attention. It not only accelerates the healing process but can also significantly impact the overall success of the surgery, with potential improvements of up to 50%. Our dedicated team is fully prepared to support you in achieving pain-free mobility and helping you regain optimal function:
- More than 40 years of experience as a medical services provider;
- Comprehensive treatment at one of Lithuania’s leading private medical clinics;
- Individual post-op physiotherapy sessions and guidance from a dedicated physiotherapist on how to proceed so as not to injure yourself once you’re back to your daily activities;
- Individual rehabilitation plans tailored to each patient, depending on their well-being and comfort, which may include: cold and compression therapy, physiotherapy treatments (to reduce inflammation and strengthen muscles), physiotherapy sessions (to increase range of motion and restore joint function and mobility), therapeutic massage, etc. The aim of post-operative early rehabilitation is to train the patient to move with assistive devices, speed up the healing process and help restore joint function;
- Aquatic physiotherapy 2 weeks after surgery, when the joint has fully healed;
- Guidance on the use of aids for household/daily activities, available from our local shop;
- Option of consultation with the operating surgeon during the rehabilitation period;
- Caring staff members and friendly communication;
- Cozy and modern private wards with all amenities (TV, WI-FI, private bathroom, basic hygiene products);
- Delicious food with menu choices;
All-inclusive rehabilitation packages, that can be reimbursed by your local health board (as well as the surgery itself).