Cartilage restoration: A promising treatment for patients over 40 years
At Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), new two studies have found that cartilage restoration procedures are a viable treatment for the patients over 40 years old who have cartilage damage in their knees. Such patients depart from daily activities and also not able to engage themselves in sports due to pain in their knees.
According to Riley J. Williams, III, MD, senior study author and director of the Institute for Cartilage Repair at Hospital for Special Surgery, "Various cartilage restoration procedures have demonstrated success rates ranging from 50 to 90 percent, but the majority of reported results were in patients ages 30 and younger." "Our studies are the first to look at outcomes of three specific procedures used to repair damaged cartilage in patients over 40."
The surgeons revealed that different types of cartilage “plugs” were successful in relieving pain and also improving knee function in patients with articular cartilage damage. Articular damage cartilage is a elastic material that absorb shock and provides a smooth surface over the end of the bone to facilitate joint movement. However, the articular cartilage has very limited ability to heal itself. So, multiple procedures have been developed to repair the damaged area, reduce pain and improve functionality.
In both studies, participant's mean age was 51.5 and they had only cartilage injury. The first study looked at 35 patients with damaged cartilage below the kneecap. The second study consisted of 61 patients whose cartilage damage was below the femur bone in the knee joint and had follow-up evaluation of 2 years after the surgery.
Cartilage restoration surgery used different types of “plug” to fill the hole or damaged area. Over half of the patients received synthetic plugs and a small plug of cartilage transferred from another healthy part of the knee to the other half of the participants. Dr. Williams reported no statistically significant differences among the different treatments groups. Moreover, majority of patients reported decreased pain, high activity levels and maximum satisfaction. He concluded, "For the first time, this middle-aged group of athletic individuals may have some good options to repair cartilage lesions". "In addition to improving their quality of life, this may help them delay the need for a knee replacement down the road."