Articular Cartilage is the white tissue lining the ends of bones where they connect to form joints. The cartilage acts as cushioning material and helps enable smooth gliding of the bones during movement. Injury or age-related wear and tear at the joint may damage this cartilage, causing severe pain and inflammation.
Carticel (autologous cultured chondrocytes) is a product derived from the body’s own cartilage cells called chondrocytes, and is used to treat cartilage injuries of the knee.
Carticel treatment, also known as Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI) is a surgical procedure to stimulate the growth of new cartilage in order to treat the damaged cartilage in the knee.
Common signs and symptoms of cartilage damage in the knee joint include pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited range of motion. Patients may also complain of a “locking” or “catching” sensation if loose bodies are present in the knee.
Diagnosis of articular cartilage defects is based on the clinical examination and presentation of chronic knee pain. Your doctor may order the following diagnostic tests:
The aim of the surgery is to reduce pain and improve movement and function to the knee joint.
The Carticel procedure is a two-step treatment process.
The first step involves Arthroscopy of the knee joint and cell culturing.
Using an arthroscope, your surgeon removes a small fragment of healthy cartilage tissue from a non-weight bearing part of the knee. The sample is sent to the laboratory for chondrocyte culturing which takes about 4-5 weeks. During this time, the cell numbers increase to approximately 12 million.
The second step involves implantation of the cultured chondrocytes into the knee. Your surgeon will make an incision over the knee and remove the damaged cartilage leaving only healthy bone and tissue. A periosteal patch is then placed over the area of defect by inserting a small piece of tissue that is secured with sutures. The tissue for the patch is derived from the adjacent shinbone (tibia). The cultured cells from the lab are then injected into the patch where they grow and multiply to form new cartilage which is very similar to the original cartilage.
As with any surgery, there are risks involved. Some of the complications following a carticel procedure may include continued pain, a “catching” or “locking” sensation, or need for further surgery.
The CARTICEL procedure is an autologous cell therapy employed to treat defects in articular cartilage of the knee in adult patients. Using your body’s own cultured cells, the procedure helps form new cartilage in the knee in order to manage pain and restore normal functioning to the joint.