As you age, your articular (lining) cartilage thins and occasionally tears with many years of cushioning and use. In younger people, tearing of articular cartilage can occur with injury. This often results in pain and a limited range of motion. In recent years, three new techniques have been developed aiming to restore articular cartilage. Although no long-term studies have yet been conducted to study their efficacy, these techniques show a lot of promise.
- Osteochondral grafting — healthy bone and cartilage are harvested together from one area of your body and transplanted to your knee.
- Autologous chondrocyte implantation — healthy cartilage alone is harvested from one area of your body and transplanted to your knee.
- Mesenchymal stem cell regeneration — in your body you have undifferentiated stem cells, or cells that have not yet become cells of a particular type (i.e.- blood). These stem cells can be harvested and grown in a medium that encourages bone cell differentiation and transplanted to your knee, where they develop into cartilage.