Cartilage regeneration is an innovative procedure to replace damaged or worn down cartilage in the knee. The procedure—called autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI)—takes healthy cartilage cells from the damaged knee, cultures them in a lab for four to six weeks, and then injects the new cells into the damaged joint for regeneration with the surrounding cartilage. This minimally invasive procedure is an option for some patients who have one or two areas of isolated cartilage loss, which occurs over time. Patients with more extensive damage may require knee replacement.
Cartilage regeneration replaces articular cartilage, which provides a cushion between bone endings. When cartilage is damaged or worn down, bone hits bone where the sensitive nerve endings are located, causing pain. Because cartilage does not have a blood supply, it has limited ability to repair itself. Cartilage regeneration, along with strengthening muscles around the joint, can help some patients delay joint replacement surgery for damaged joints.
The Cartilage Repair Center (CRC) at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is recognized around the world as one of the leading institutions for the treatment of cartilage damage and early arthritis in the knees. Founded more than 10 years ago as the first U.S. center solely dedicated to the treatment of cartilage damage, the CRC continues to be one of the busiest cartilage transplant centers in the country. Our expert staff does everything possible to treat the patients who come to the Center from around the world and right here in New England seeking to resume competitive sports or simply to walk comfortably again.
The Center is part of the BWH Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, which US News & World Report has recognized as one of the country's best orthopaedic programs. The Department is noted for continually raising the standards of care for orthopaedic diseases and injuries, delivering innovative treatments such as cartilage repair and advanced joint arthroplasty procedures, including knee replacement. Our experienced and skilled orthopaedic surgeons offer treatment that help hundreds of patients return to comfortable and productive lives each year.
Cartilage repair services are offered through the Advanced Center for Cartilage Repair, Shoulder & Sports Injuries (ACCSS) at BWH. Our experienced staff treats patients with sports injuries and cartilage injuries and provides joint preservation and replacement procedures for shoulders, hips and knees. Patients seeking cartilage repair services can see our sports medicine specialists at 850 Boylston Street in Chestnut Hill; and 20 Patriot Place in Foxborough.
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