Cartilage transplant

To replace damaged areas of cartilage that have occurred as a result of cartilage injury for example, cartilage transplant is an ideal option. The damaged area should be no more than three square centimetres in size, however.

This procedure is especially used where cartilage is damaged in the upper ankle area and in the knee region. In parts of the joint that are subjected to high levels of physical stress, it is recommended that pieces of cartilage and bone are grafted directly or cartilage cells are cultivated and then transplanted back with a carrier substance at a later date.

Treatment details

Duration of treatment: 30 to 60 minutes
In-patient stay: 4 -5 days Protection time:
Physiotherapy: occasionally required
Time off work: depends on profession
Sports: after 12 to 16 weeks

Treatment plan

Cartilage and bone transplants: During an arthroscopic procedure, we first remove the diseased portion of the joint. Using a special punch or mill, we remove one or more healthy pieces of cartilage and bone from parts of the joint that are exposed to less physical strain, and then use these to replace the damaged sections. Conversely, the damaged part of the tissue can be grafted back into the area that healthy tissue has been removed from. This counteracts any additional stresses in this area.

Autologous cartilage transplant: During an arthroscopic procedure, the damaged area is smoothed and cartilage cell material harvested under sterile conditions. This is then sent to a suitable institution for cell culture. After three to four weeks, the cultivated cartilage cells are then inserted via a carrier material during a second arthroscopic operation, allowing them to grow into the damaged area.

Schematic diagram of a cartilage transplant