Cartilage and Cartilage Defects
Cartilage is the tissue that separates bone surfaces. Articular cartilage, which is found in the joints, has a unique composition and structure. Its characteristics allow it to absorb high pressure and sliding forces and to transmit these to the bones. It is also a perfect sliding, selflubricating surface, which permits a mutual gliding and turning of the bones.
Injuries of the joints and the articular cartilage can suddenly arise during sports, exercise and accidents. Because cartilage is avascular and the cartilage cells themselves have a low regenerative capacity, healing of this tissue is difficult to achieve. Over time untreated defects become larger and due to irregularities in the defect edges, adjacent cartilage also becomes damaged.
This leads to severe pain and reduced mobility, with the only treatment for the problem at this stage being an artificial knee. It is therefore important that symptomatic cartilage defects are treated at the earliest possible time to prevent, or at least postpone the requirement for an artificial knee.
Cartilage does not posess the ability to regenerate by itself. For the renewal of damaged articular cartilage, the methods that have proven effective are Microfracturing, Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI) and Autologous Matrix-Induced Chondrogenesis (AMIC).