Which treatment option is right for you?

The Carticel implantation procedure is called autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI)

Several procedures can help repair an articular cartilage injury in your knee. Your doctor can help you decide which treatment option may be best for you based on your age, the location and size of the cartilage injury, as well as your goals and expectations.

Remember, if you postpone treatment, your injury and associated knee pain may get worse and over time may become more difficult to repair. There’s no better time than now to ACT… 

Arthroscopic Chondroplasty

(Debridement and Lavage)

During an arthroscopic procedure, the surgeon:

  • Locates and trims the damaged cartilage
  • Irrigates the area with sterile water

This cleaning of the joint surface may also be referred to as “debridement and lavage.” Chondroplasty may relieve pain for a period of time, but this treatment does not actually repair the damaged cartilage.

Marrow Stimulation Repairs

(Abrasion Arthroplasty, Microfracture, Subchondral Drilling)

These procedures are used to repair small cartilage injuries. They allow the body’s own marrow stem cells to produce scar tissue and repair the damaged cartilage.

During these procedures:

  • Surgeon uses a surgical instrument to create tiny holes or breaks in the bone underneath the damaged cartilage
  • Blood seeps out of these fractures and creates a clot that releases cartilage-building cells
    • • The repair tissue that is created usually has the characteristics of “fibrocartilage,” and not “hyaline” cartilage. Hyaline cartilage is what makes up your normal articular cartilage, and is much more durable than fibrocartilage.

The most common marrow stimulation procedure is called microfracture.

Osteochondral Autograft

To repair small cartilage injuries, and those that involve combined bone and cartilage damage, the surgeon can:

  • Remove a small plug of a patient’s own healthy bone and cartilage from a non-weight-bearing area of the knee joint.
  • Insert it into the injured area.

Osteochondral Allograft

Generally used for larger cartilage injuries and those that involve bone and cartilage damage, the surgeon:

  • Obtains a donated femoral condyle from a cadaver.
  • Removes a plug containing portions of both bone and cartilage from the cadaver tissue to match the size of your injured knee cartilage and bone area.
  • Inserts the plug into the cored-out section of your injured knee cartilage and bone area.

Carticel and Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI)

Carticel is an FDA-approved biologic product used to repair articular cartilage injuries in adults who have not responded to a prior arthroscopic or other surgical repair procedure.

  • Carticel uses a biopsy of your own cartilage cells (chondrocytes) and multiplies them into millions of cells at our FDA-licensed and regulated manufacturing facility. These cells are then implanted into your knee cartilage defect in a surgical procedure called autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI).
  • Carticel is the name of the cells that are grown from the samples (or biopsy) taken from your knee, and is delivered in a vial immediately prior to your scheduled implantation surgery.
  • Carticel poses little risk of disease transmission to you since it comes from your own tissue.
  • Carticel is not indicated for the treatment of cartilage damage associated with generalized osteoarthritis.
  • Like any treatment option, individual results may vary.