Arthroscopy Is the First Step for Durable Knee Cartilage Repair Skip to content

Arthroscopy Is the First Step for Durable Knee Cartilage Repair

Surgeon performing an arthroscopy.

The first step in the MACI knee cartilage repair journey is an arthroscopy. This is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure that allows a surgeon to scope the knee and diagnose the causes of knee pain.


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What Happens During an Arthroscopy?

  1. During an arthroscopy, a physician makes a small incision in the knee and inserts an arthroscope, a small medical instrument with a camera and light on the end. This allows the health care provider to examine the knee joint and diagnose the patient’s injuries.
  2. The physician may also use this opportunity to clean up the knee joint and remove damaged cartilage and bone. This is called debridement and is accompanied by a joint lavage to wash out any loose bodies around the knee.
  3. For patients considering pursuing the MACI procedure, the surgeon will collect a sample of the patient’s healthy knee cartilage cells from a non-weight bearing area of the knee during the arthroscopy. This sample is sent to Vericel’s facility where the cells are reproduced to create a cartilage implant that is later implanted into the patient’s knee during a follow up surgery to repair damaged cartilage.


Potential Pain Relief Post-Arthroscopy

Patients who undergo an arthroscopy with debridement and lavage may experience pain relief after the procedure. The removal of damaged cartilage and tissue may reduce pain and improve movement in the patient’s knee; but, oftentimes the relief is temporary and pain returns.


Overcoming Knee Cartilage Pain Long-Term

Cartilage damage doesn't heal on its own and could get worse and more painful if not addressed early. If left untreated, knee cartilage pain can become chronic and can greatly impact a patient’s quality of life. That's why it is critical to avoid delaying treatment for knee cartilage pain. MACI surgery is an option that can help repair a patient’s knee cartilage damage for knee pain long term.


How Melissa Found Lasting Relief from Knee Cartilage Pain

After more than a decade with knee pain caused by a sports-related injury, Melissa* pursued MACI knee cartilage repair to treat her cartilage damage.

Melissa shares the details of her journey from arthroscopy to recovery following MACI surgery in the video below.


Please see below for full indication and ISI. Blog posts are intended to provide educational information only and do not constitute medical advice. Always talk to your doctor with any questions.

*Melissa is a MACI patient and has been trained and compensated for her time by Vericel.

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Answer some quick questions to determine your level of pain and to help decide if MACI may be your next best step


Indication and Important Safety Information

Important Safety Information

MACI should not be used if you:

  • are allergic to antibiotics such as gentamicin, or materials that come from cow, pig, or ox;
  • have severe osteoarthritis of the knee, other severe inflammatory conditions, infections or inflammation in the bone joint and other surrounding tissue, or blood clotting conditions;
  • have had knee surgery in the past 6 months, not including surgery for obtaining a cartilage biopsy or a surgical procedure to prepare your knee for a MACI implant;
  • or cannot follow a doctor-prescribed rehabilitation program after your surgery

Consult your doctor if you have cancer in the area of the cartilage biopsy or implant as the safety of MACI is not known in those cases.

Conditions that existed before your surgery, including meniscus tears, joint or ligament instability, or alignment problems should be evaluated and treated before or at the same time as the MACI implant.

MACI is not recommended if you are pregnant.

MACI has not been studied in patients younger than 18 or over 55 years of age.

Common side effects include joint pain, tendonitis, back pain, joint swelling, and joint effusion.

More serious side effects include joint pain, cartilage or meniscus injury, treatment failure, and osteoarthritis.

Please see Full Prescribing Information for more information.


MACI® is made up of your own (autologous) cells that are expanded and placed onto a film that is implanted into the area of the cartilage damage and absorbed back into your own tissue.

MACI® (autologous cultured chondrocytes on porcine collagen membrane) is made up of your own (autologous) cells that are expanded and placed onto a film that is implanted into the area of the cartilage damage and absorbed back into your own tissue.

MACI is used for the repair of symptomatic cartilage damage of the adult knee.

The amount of MACI applied depends on the size of the cartilage damage. The MACI film is trimmed by your surgeon to match the size and shape of the damage, to ensure the damaged area is completely covered.

Limitations of Use

It is not known whether MACI is effective in joints other than the knee.

It is not known whether MACI is safe or effective in patients over the age of 55 years.