The main component of the joint surface is a special tissue called hyaline cartilage.When it is damaged, the joint surface may no longer be smooth. Moving bones along a tough, damaged joint surface is difficult and causes pain. Cartilage injuries can also lead to arthritis in the joint.
The goal of cartilage restoration procedures is to stimulate new hyaline cartilage growth.
Identifying Cartilage Damage
In many cases, patients who have joint injuries, such as meniscal or ligament tears, will also have cartilage damage. This damage may be hard to diagnose because hyaline cartilage does not contain calcium and cannot be seen on an X-ray.
If other injuries exist with cartilage damage, Dr. Backe will address all problems during surgery.
Many procedures to restore articular cartilage are done arthroscopically. During arthroscopy, Dr. Backe makes three 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. Dr. Backe will discuss the options with you to determine what kind of procedure is right for you.