Revolutionizing Mobility: Exploring Techniques in Cartilage Replacement

February 13, 2024
Revolutionizing Mobility: Exploring Techniques in Cartilage Replacement

Cartilage is not something most people think about often, but it’s a very important part of a healthy body. Cartilage is a type of connective tissue that provides support, protection, and structure to our joints. Cartilage prevents friction in the joints, as without it our bones would often rub together, causing serious pain.

But cartilage can wear down or be damaged over time. Sports injuries are a very common source of cartilage damage, but there are other causes as well. Fortunately, there are a range of cartilage replacement surgeries available to those in need. 

Want to learn more? Here is a brief overview of cartilage replacement surgery.

What Are Cartilage Replacement Procedures Used For?

Pain Relief

Lost or worn-down cartilage, whether from an injury, degenerative condition, or normal wear and tear, can cause persistent pain. This is because cartilage is important for absorbing shock and supporting bones and joints. When cartilage wears down, it can easily cause swelling and other injuries in these areas. Cartilage replacement is a fast and effective way to fix this problem.

Restore Mobility

The loss of cartilage and resulting pain can also cause some people to lose mobility in joints, such as the knees and hips. Cartilage replacement surgery helps restore that mobility, helping patients improve and recover their quality of life.

Arthritis Treatment

Some forms of arthritis are caused by wear and tear on a joint over time. It is not uncommon for damaged cartilage to be a factor in arthritis symptoms. Cartilage replacement can delay or even prevent pain from arthritis in some patients.

Types of Knee Cartilage Replacement Surgeries

Knee injuries are among the most common reasons patients seek cartilage replacement. Knee cartilage replacement surgeries are especially common among athletes with serious knee injuries. There are several different knee cartilage replacement surgeries available to those in need.

The specific procedure used will depend on the patient’s condition and the severity of the injury. Here are some of the most frequently used techniques in cartilage replacement therapy.


Microfracture and drilling cartilage replacement procedures both use similar principles to repair cartilage. Both surgeries create small holes in the surface of the knee or other joints. This stimulates blood flow to the area, promoting the growth of new cartilage. 

This process is usually highly effective, allowing the body to naturally replace damaged tissue with healthy cartilage. Recovery times for microfracture or drilling procedures can range from 9 to 12 months.

Cartilage Transplant

Some knee cartilage replacement surgeries rely on surgically replacing the damaged cartilage with new tissue. There are a few different procedures that use a cartilage transplant to repair damaged tissue. The most common, called Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation, uses healthy cartilage grown from elsewhere in the patient’s body. 

An alternative procedure, Osteochondral Autograft Transplantation, uses healthy cartilage grown and extracted from a donor. Recovery time from this procedure is gradual, lasting up to a year in total. Many patients remain in the hospital for 2-3 days post-surgery before returning home.

Synthetic Transplant

A third option for cartilage replacement surgery uses a synthetic material to replace the damaged cartilage. This procedure is called Implant Arthroplasty. The process and recovery time are similar to the other transplantation procedures mentioned above. 

The key difference between the procedures is that implant arthroplasty uses synthetic plastic materials rather than actual cartilage.

Schedule a Cartilage Replacement Surgery

Are you suffering from damaged or lost cartilage? The expert surgeons at Diablo Foot & Ankle can help. Review our advanced cartilage replacement treatments to learn more about the options we provide. Or, contact us to book a consultation with a knowledgeable medical professional today.

Common Podiatry Questions

What is a Podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the foot and ankle.

What does a Podiatrist treat?

A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the medical and surgical care of the feet. They can treat conditions such as ingrown toenails, fungal toenails, bunions, hammertoes, and plantar fasciitis.

What’s the difference between a Podiatrist and Orthopedist?

A Podiatrist and Orthopedist are very similar to each other in many ways. They use most of the same tools and treat a lot of the same conditions. The main difference between the two is their medical training. Podiatrists are trained exclusively on the foot and ankle, whereas the Orthopedic is trained on the whole body with an additional year of training on the foot and ankle.

Where are your Podiatry clinics located?

At Diablo Foot & Ankle, we treat our foot and ankle patients in two main clinic locations in Walnut Creek and in Antioch California. Dr. Eman Elmi and Dr. Shayan Esspoor are Board Certified Podiatrists who specialize in the treatment of foot and ankle disorders.

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