There are several types of cartilage in your body. Cartilage is found in the supporting structure of your nose, ears, ribs, and on the surfaces of joints. A joint is a bending point where two bones meet. The knee, hip, and shoulder are the three largest joints.
The specialized covering on the ends of bones that meet (articulate) to form a joint is called hyaline or articular cartilage. It is the cartilage that wears when we overdo, age, or sustain an injury. Articular cartilage is unique in that it has no nerves or blood supply. This means that human tissue cannot heal without a blood supply so articular cartilage cannot repair itself.
Many procedures to restore articular cartilage are done arthroscopicaly. During arthroscopy, your surgeon makes small puncture incisions around your joint using an arthroscope.
Some procedures require the surgeon to have more direct access to the affected area. Longer, open incisions are required. Sometimes it is necessary to address other problems in the joint such as meniscal or ligament tears, when cartilage surgery is done.
In general, recovery from an arthroscopic procedure is quicker and less painful than a traditional, open surgery. The most common procedures for cartilage restoration are:
3. Abrasion Arthroplasty
4. Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation
5. Osteochondral Autograft Transplantation
6. Osteochondral Allograft Transplantation