Cartilage Repair

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Articular cartilage, which provides a cushion between bone endings, can be damaged by injury or worn down over time by arthritis. When cartilage wears away, bone hits bone where the sensitive nerve endings are located, causing pain. Cartilage repair can be done when cartilage has begun to wear away but has not yet worn down to bone-on-bone arthritis, at which point more extensive surgery such as joint replacement surgery may be needed. Surgery for cartilage repair includes a variety of procedures designed to heal cartilage damage by filling in missing cartilage with repair tissue.

BWH offers world-class cartilage care, including cartilage repair.

The Cartilage Repair Center (CRC) at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is world-renown as a leading institution for the treatment of cartilage damage and early arthritis in the knee and other joints. Founded over a decade ago as the first U.S. medical center dedicated solely to treating patients with cartilage damage, the CRC is still one of the busiest cartilage transplant centers in the country. Every year, our experienced staff helps patients from around the world to walk comfortably again or to resume competitive sports.

The innovative services offered at the Cartilage Repair Center include:

  • Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI): also called cartilage regeneration, this procedure takes a patient's own healthy cartilage to repair unhealthy cartilage in the knee
  • Osteochondral allograft transplantation: this procedure takes bone/cartilage graft from a deceased donor and transfers it to repair a patient's damaged cartilage in the knee
  • Meniscal transplantation: this procedure takes a healthy meniscus (the crescent-shaped cushion of cartilage in the knee) from a deceased donor and implants it in a patient with a damaged meniscus

In addition to these cartilage repair procedures, the Center also performs osteotomy surgery (in which a joint bone is reshaped as a treatment for osteoarthritis), surgery to replace joints, and ligament reconstruction such as ACL reconstruction.

In this video, Tom Minas, MD, Director of the Cartilage Repair Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital discusses cartilage repair to preserve joints in younger adults who are experiencing osteoarthritis as a result of injury or trauma. The Cartilage Repair Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital was founded as the first center in the U.S. solely dedicated to the treatment of cartilage disorders. It is internationally recognized as one of the leading institutions for the treatment of cartilage defects and early arthritis.

BWH: one of the country's best programs for orthopaedic care, including cartilage repair.

The CRC is part of the BWH Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, which US News & World Report has consistently recognized as one of the best orthopaedic programs in the nation. The Department continually raises the standards of care for orthopaedic diseases and injuries, working to develop innovative cartilage repair and joint arthroplasty procedures, including shoulder repair and replacement. Our experienced and skilled orthopaedic surgeons treat hundreds of patients each year, helping them return to comfortable and active lives.

Learn more about cartilage repair services at BWH.

Cartilage repair services are offered through the Advanced Center for Cartilage Repair, Shoulder & Sports Injuries (ACCSS) at BWH. Our experienced staff provides expert care for patients with sports injuries and cartilage injuries as well as joint preservation and replacement procedures for shoulders, hips and knees. Patients seeking cartilage repair services can receive care at our main campus in Boston's Longwood Medical Area or at our satellite offices in Foxborough, Chestnut Hill and other greater Boston locations.

Learn more about Cartilage Repair at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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Read how BWH is nationally ranked in 11 medical specialties by U.S. News and World Report.

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