Cartilage grafting is a surgical procedure that replaces damaged cartilage with healthy cartilage from a non-weight bearing joint. Cartilage grafting is performed to correct joint deformities and restore the weight-bearing capability of the affected joint. Cartilage grafting is indicated in patients with articular cartilage damage in the knee to restore normal functioning of the joint.
Cartilage grafting can be performed using various techniques depending on your particular situation and your surgeon’s preference.
This technique is performed in patients with large areas of cartilage damage in the knee. Periosteal grafts are taken from tissues lining the outer surface of bones in a non-weight bearing area of the joint. In this procedure, the damaged cartilage is removed and multiples holes are created in the bone to stimulate bleeding. The periosteal grafts are then attached to the subchondral bone with the help of sutures and glue. The periosteum cells provide growth factors to produce cartilage in the damaged area.
Perichondral grafting technique is similar to periosteal grafting but the graft is harvested from the lower part of the rib along with its chondrogenic layer. The procedure can be performed using minimally invasive technique or open surgery. Once harvested, the perichondral grafts are fixed to the subchondral bone with the help of fibrin glue. This method also helps in regeneration of cartilage in the damaged area.
Articular Cartilage Paste Grafting
In this technique, multiple holes are created in the bone to induce bleeding. The articular cartilage graft is harvested from the patient’s intercondylar notch at the center of the knee. The graft is ground with subchondral bone to make a paste which is transplanted to the damaged area. This method helps in re-growth of cartilage and provides better pain relief compared to all other grafting procedures.