How is ACI Performed?
Autologous chondrocyte implantation treatment is done in three stages:
- First Stage: Done arthroscopically in less than 30 minutes. Dr. Mazzara will harvest a small piece of articular cartilage from a less weight-bearing area of the knee. This small cartilage biopsy is then sent to a special laboratory where they grow chondrocytes (cartilage-producing cells) from the sample. When a sufficient amount of cells have been grown, they are sent back to Dr. Mazzara for implantation. This usually takes 6-8 weeks.
- Second Stage: The second stage is performed with an open-knee surgery called an arthrotomy. Dr. Mazzara implants the new cartialge cells into the specific defect. The cells adhere to the patient’s knee to form what is called hyaline-like cartilage which resembles the native knee joint cartilage.
- Third Stage: This is the recovery period where weight-bearing is restricted for up to 8 weeks. Dr. Mazzara may recommend the use of a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine to improve the graft’s success and to maintain the patient’s range of motion. Physical therapy is eventually prescribed with an emphasis on strengthening activities.
Does ACI – Carticel™ Work?
Statistics have shown that for isolated articular cartilage tears, there has been a 92% success rate. For multiple lesions within the same knee there is an 85% success rate. Patients who have patella (kneecap) issues have shown an 85%-87% success rate when done with an osteotomy procedure.
These success rates are important for both surgeons and patients because it gives them more options in treating knee pain and articular cartilage damage.
If you are interested in learning more about autologous chondrocyte implantation for knee cartilage damage, or to find out if you are a candidate for ACI surgery, please contact the orthopedic offices of Dr. James Mazzara, knee surgeon in Manchester, South Windsor, Enfield, Glastonbury and surrounding Hartford communities.