Microfracture surgery is performed as part of arthroscopic knee surgery, and is generally considered first line treatment for cartilage damage in the knee joint. If you are having microfracture surgery for the knee, here is what to expect.
Treating Damaged Cartilage
Microfracture surgery will treat a small area of damaged cartilage in the knee in an attempt to stimulate new cartilage growth and regeneration. Articular cartilage is a layer of smooth white connective tissue that covers the end of bones within a joint. It is living tissue which is maintained and repaired by the body’s cells.
This surgery works best for those who have only limited areas of cartilage damage. Someone who has pain and swelling in the knee is a good candidate for microfracture surgery. In addition, the procedure is also beneficial for someone who is physically active but has become limited in sports due to the damage.
How Microfracture Surgery Is Performed
This surgery is performed arthroscopically. The area to be treated is prepared by removing loose or damaged cartilage. This process of thoroughly cleaning and preparing the defect is essential for the best results.
An awl, which is a small sharp pick, will create small microfractures, or a network of holes, in the bone. How many are created is based on the size of the joint and damage.
This penetration of the outer layers of bone allows blood and blood marrow stem cells to form a “super clot” where the cartilage is damaged, and it actually forms a new cartilage layer. The body is then able to heal the joint by stimulating blood flow to the damaged and new cartilage.
What To Expect During Recovery
It can take between 2 and 6 months for patients to experience improvement. During rehabilitation, patients will need to use crutches. Sometimes a knee brace is recommended, as well as a motion machine to bend the knee.
Microfracture surgery is safe, easy to perform, and inexpensive.
Contact Dr. Camille Clinton at (425) 899-4810 if you think you may be a candidate for microfracture surgery of the knee. Dr. Clinton is a board certified orthopedic surgeon with extensive experience performing microfracture surgery. Request an appointment at our orthopedic surgery office in Kirkland, WA today!