At the joints where our bones meet lies smooth connective tissue known as articular cartilage. When this cartilage is healthy, it helps to facilitate fluid movement and prevent friction so that our joints can flex and bend easily. On the other hand, when this tissue becomes damaged due to acute injury or degeneration over time, it can lead to ongoing joint pain and dysfunction. This begs the question, can cartilage be restored? Our orthopedic expert is here to provide clarity on what’s currently possible.
Can Cartilage Be Restored? Ask an Orthopedic Surgeon
Swelling, stiffness and a grinding sensation in the affected joint(s) are common complaints associated with cartilage wear. Fortunately, owing to advancements in orthopedic treatment, there are now numerous minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures available to help address cartilage defects. For example:
- A piece of healthy cartilage may be transplanted or grafted onto an area where cartilage is deficient (as an important note, replacement cartilage may have a shorter lifespan than the original tissue).
- Small holes may be made in damaged cartilage and the underlying bone in order to promote new cartilage growth that will cover the defect or fill in the gap.
When seeking more information on how can cartilage be restored and considering procedures to enable this, keep in mind that results will vary from patient to patient. Additionally, there are certain cases where it will not be possible to repair, restore or regenerate damaged cartilage, in which case another treatment approach may be needed. For example, addressing cartilage degradation related to knee arthritis that has been developing over many years may require knee replacement surgery.
Explore Effective Treatment Methods for Cartilage Damage
At his practice in Wyomissing, PA, Dr. Stephen Soffer proudly provides a range of cutting-edge treatment options for orthopedic issues, all centered around alleviating pain and restoring joint and cartilage functionality.
Equipped with fellowship training from sports medicine specialist Dr. James Andrews and other high-level experience, Dr. Soffer is qualified to offer both operative and nonoperative treatments. To learn more and find out whether you are a good candidate for a particular cartilage restoration procedure, reach out to our office at 610-375-4949.