The autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) technique is designed to treat and repair cartilage defects by regenerating the patient’s own hyaline cartilage. This is a weight-bearing cartilage that lines the surface of the knee joint.
Steps for an ACI procedure include:
1. Knee Examination
Through a small incision in the knee, Dr. Guttentag will use an arthroscope to look for signs of damage in the knee joint.
2. Sample Removed
If a defect is found, it will be removed by a small sample of healthy cartilage from a non weight-bearing region of the knee.
3. Cells Cultured
The sample is sent to the Genzyme laboratory, where it is stimulated to produce approximately 12 million similar cells. This process, called cell culturing, takes about four to five weeks. Once completed, the new cells are returned to the surgeon.
4. Diseased Cartilage Removed
The surgeon now performs a second surgery to implant the new cartilage cells. First, the surgeon removes the knee’s damaged or diseased cartilage, along with any loose tissue.
5. Periosteum Removed
A small patch of thin, fibrous tissue called periosteum is removed from the surface of the tibia.
6. Patch Sewn
The periosteum patch is sewn over the area where the diseased or damaged cartilage was removed.
7. Cells Implanted
The cultured cells are implanted beneath the patch through a thin needle.
8. End of Procedure
Over time, the cultured cells will adhere to the damaged area, forming a new layer of weight-bearing cartilage tissue.
To find out if you’re a good candidate for ACI surgery, schedule an appointment with Dr. Guttentag at Florida Medical Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine & Spine. Dr. Guttentag is highly experienced at performing ACI procedures would be able to evaluate your condition and discuss available treatment options.