This minimally-invasive procedure repairs damaged cartilage in the knee joint. Small holes are drilled into the bone at the base of the damaged area to stimulate the growth of healthy “scar” cartilage.
The patient is positioned so that the front of the knee is clearly visible to the physician, and the area is cleaned and sterilized. Local anesthesia is administered to numb the incision site. General anesthesia or sedation is used.
Accessing the Joint
Two to five small incisions are made on either side of the patella. An arthroscopic camera and other tools are inserted. The camera allows the surgeon to view the procedure on a monitor.
Creating the Microfractures
The joint is examined, and any loose or damaged cartilage is removed. A small, sharp awl is used to create several small holes in the bone.
End of Procedure and Aftercare
The incisions are closed with sutures or surgical staples and the knee is bandaged. Patients are given pain relievers and will be able to leave the hospital on the same day. Weight should not be put on the leg for six to eight weeks. Full recovery often takes four to six months.