You may be referring to abrasion arthroplasty a technique started more than 25 years ago to stimulate repair of damaged cartilage. Surgeons would cut away the top layer of damaged cartilage and bone in a joint to cause bleeding. The idea was to bring about healing and regrowth of the bone and cartilage.
The problem was they took too much bone and left the patient with a weak bone and a painful knee. So abrasion arthroplasty to reconstruct joint cartilage fell by the wayside.
Today surgeons are taking a second look at this method of cartilage repair. They've discovered that shaving the bone instead of cutting or drilling has the desired effect.
Patients who’ve had this type of arthroplasty can put off joint replacement by 10 to 12 or more years. And when they do have the joint replaced, the underlying bone is in better condition than expected.