Microfracture surgery is a procedure that has been used for many years to treat chondral defects, which are points of damage to the articular cartilage that surrounds the bones in the knee joint. This surgery aims to create an environment where tissue can regenerate at the site of the damage to replace the damaged cartilage. The goal of microfracture surgery is to help reduce pain and improve function in the knee, allowing a person to participate more fully in everyday activities and sports.
Not everyone with chondral defects is a good candidate for microfracture surgery. Indicators that the procedure can yield the desired results include cartilage loss extending down to the bone, damage located in a weight-bearing area between the femur and tibia, and a normal alignment of the knee (the person is not knock-kneed or bowlegged). Dr. Guttentag will also take other factors, such as a person’s age and their level of activity, into account before recommending microfracture surgery.
Microfracture surgery involves the following steps:
- The surgeon will make tiny incisions in the knee to insert an arthroscope, which is a small camera that will allow the doctor to see clearly within the joint.
- The surgeon will remove any unstable cartilage from the area around the exposed bone.
- The surgeon will make several holes in the exposed bone, about 3 to 4mm apart from each other.
- Bone marrow and blood cells will accumulate in the exposed area, creating a “super clot”. After a successful surgery, this will eventually turn into smooth and durable repair tissue.
After microfracture surgery, the new tissue will gradually mature. It can take two to six months for a person to experience a reduction in pain and improved knee function after this surgery. The knee should continue to gain strength and mobility over the course of two to three years.
To determine whether you’re a candidate for microfracture surgery, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ira Guttentag at Florida Medical Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine & Spine. Dr. Guttentag is widely regarded as a leader in knee surgery, and he would be pleased to evaluate the condition of your knee and discuss treatment options for you.