Cartilage Repair & Restoration

A doctor manipulates a patient's knee.

If you suffer from knee pain caused by cartilage damage or other joint injuries, you know that discomfort and swelling can make it hard for you to do the things you love. That’s why the specialists at the UK Center for Cartilage Repair & Restoration will focus on finding the best treatment so that you can get active and moving again.

Cartilage injury specialties & treatments

Joint damage often requires complex treatments, whether it’s for your knee, hip, shoulder or elbow. At the Center for Cartilage Repair & Restoration, we have the expertise and experience in a wide range of treatment options — from the simplest to the most advanced — to repair and restore damaged cartilage. If you had a previous cartilage repair that didn’t go the way you planned, our surgeon also specializes in fixing those problems.

We treat the following conditions:

  • Articular cartilage injury
  • Elbow, shoulder and hip joint injuries
  • Knee cartilage injury, including ACL tears or patellar (kneecap) dislocation
  • Injuries from previous surgeries, such as ACL repairs or reconstructions
  • Meniscal deficiency, usually caused by the removal of the meniscus (the shock absorber of the knee) after an injury
  • Throwing injuries - such as cartilage injuries of the elbow related to overhead throwing sports (baseball, softball etc.)
  • Torn meniscus

In addition to offering nonsurgical treatments, including physical therapy and activity modifications, medication injections, and orthobiologic injections, we offer these surgical treatments:

  • Knee arthroscopy — The doctor inserts a small camera into the knee to help diagnose and guide the treatment.
  • Marrow stimulation (also called microfracture) — Your surgeon stimulates healing and growth stem cells by drilling small holes in the bone. These holes help your body heal as it produces new replacement cartilage.
  • Autologous chondrocyte implantation — This is a two-step procedure. First, your surgeon removes a small piece of cartilage from your knee and uses that cartilage to grow new cartilage cells in a lab. Second, several weeks later, those cells are put back into your knee as a cartilage graft where they become new cartilage.
  • Osteochondral autograft and allograft implantation — With these more specialized techniques, your surgeon removes your damaged bone and cartilage. Your surgeon then replaces the area with healthy bone and cartilage from another part of your knee (autograft implant) or from a donor (allograft).
  • Meniscal allograft transplantation — Your entire meniscus (the C-shaped pad of cartilage in your knee) is replaced with a new meniscus taken from a donor.
  • Knee ligament reconstruction/ACL reconstruction — Your damaged ligament is removed and replaced with a tendon graft from another part of your leg or from a donor.
  • Knee osteotomy — Your surgeon reshapes either your shinbone or thigh bone to reduce the weight on your knee joint and correct your knee alignment.

Why choose UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine?

UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine provides care to elite athletes at the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University, Georgetown College and many of our local public schools.

Our cartilage experts continuously search for new options to repair damaged cartilage. Clinical trials at UK HealthCare are investigating inflammation in cartilage after ACL injuries, patellar dislocation, how quickly patients can return to activity after treatments and more.


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