The ACI (autologous chondrocyte implantation) MACI procedure is designed to treat and repair cartilage defects by regenerating the patient’s own hyaline cartilage, a weight-bearing cartilage that lines the surface of the knee joint. Learn about Dr. Domby’s approach to the ACI technique and MACI procedure below.
1. Knee Examined
Through a small incision in the knee, the surgeon uses an arthroscope to look for signs of damage in the knee joint.
2. Sample Removed
If a defect is found, the surgeon removed a small sample of healthy cartilage from a non weight-bearing region of the knee.
3. Cells Cultured
The sample is sent to the Vericel laboratory, where it is stimulated to produce approximately 12 million similar cells. The process, called cell culturing, takes about four to five weeks. Once completed, the cells that were harvested during the biopsy are implanted on a membrane, or MACI implant, that is sent to the surgery center.
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. MACI Implanted
During the second surgery, the MACI implant, with healthy cells is placed over the area where the damaged or diseased cartilage was removed.
6. End of Procedure
The cultured cells will migrate down to the bone and, over time, form a new layer of weight-bearing cartilage tissue.