What is the role of cartilage transplantation in the treatment of patellofemoral arthritis?

Updated: Dec 11, 2019
  • Author: Dinesh Patel, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Thomas M DeBerardino, MD  more...
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Answer

The ideal solution to articular cartilage damage is cartilage regeneration. Unlike bone, damaged articular cartilage lacks the ability to repair itself. Techniques such as subchondral drilling, microfracturing, and abrasion arthroplasty have been used to stimulate healing of the articular cartilage in the knee joint. Some have theorized that undifferentiated progenitor cells in the marrow are stimulated to form articular cartilage.

Histologic studies, however, have demonstrated that healing of the defect occurs primarily with fibrocartilage, which has inferior mechanical properties compared with those of hyaline cartilage. The limitations of these techniques spurred research into replacing the defect with chondrocytes or osteochondral autografts or allografts to restore the hyaline cartilage of the articular surface.


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