Treatment options for damaged knee cartilage

Cartilage damage

your doctor has several surgical techniques available for treating damaged knee cartilage


(Also called “debridement and lavage”) The doctor trims the damaged cartilage and then cleans the area with sterile water.

Chondroplasty may offer temporary relief but does not repair the cartilage lesion.

Marrow stimulation repairs

(Such as microfracture, abrasion arthroplasty, and subchondral drilling) Blood and bone marrow cells seep out of small holes drilled into the bone, creating a blood clot that forms repair tissue.

Marrow stimulation forms tissue resembling fibrocartilage rather than hyaline cartilage, the durable tissue in normal articular cartilage. This may influence the durability of the repair tissue.¹

osteochondral implants (Autologous or Allograft)

These procedures plug healthy pieces of both cartilage and bone into damaged areas, using either a patient’s own tissue (osteochondral autograft, also called OATS®) or tissue from a cadaver (osteochondral allograft).

Cartilage implants are limited by the ability to procure donor tissue.

Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI)

This biologic procedure involves expanding a patient’s own cartilage cells in a lab and then implanting them in the damaged area to restore the tissue.

The tissue created has properties similar to hyaline cartilage, the durable tissue found in articular cartilage.

Used for more than 20 years, ACI has been proven to provide long-lasting pain relief and to help patients regain knee function.

MACI® is a third-generation ACI, offering a safer way to deliver cells.²

MACI (autologous cultured chondrocytes on porcine collagen membrane) is made up of a patient’s own (autologous) cells expanded and placed onto film that can be absorbed back into your own tissue. It is implanted into the area where the damaged cartilage was removed.



How do you know if MACI is right for you?


1. Marcacci M et al. Treatment of cartilage lesions: What works and why? Injury Jan,2013 Vol 44, Supplement 1, S-11-115.

2. CR Gooding et al. A Prospective, Randomised Study Comparing Two Techniques of Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation for Osteochondral Defects in the Knee: Periosteum Covered Versus Type I/Iii Collagen Covered. Knee 13 (3), 203-210. 2006 Apr 27.