Patient Information Resources

1089 Spadina Road
Toronto, AL M5N 2M7
Ph: 416-483-2654
Fax: 416-483-2654

Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I think I'm having buyer's remorse or something like that. I had surgery for a small-sized but deep hole in my knee cartilage. The surgeon filled it in with my own cartilage cells taken from another part of the knee that's more protected. The deed is done but I'm worried I made the wrong decision to have this surgery. What do you think?

Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) refers to the filling in of cracks and holes in the knee joint cartilage with the patient's own chondrocytes (cartilage cells). These lesions or defects occur as a result of trauma, injury, or repetitive damage to the joint. Autologous means that normal, healthy cartilage cells are taken from a place in the patient's own knee joint. The cells come from an area that isn't damaged and doesn't bear a huge load when the person is upright and weight-bearing. The harvested chondrocytes have the advantage of being accepted (not rejected) by the patient's body. This procedure has been around since 1994 -- long enough now to have some long-term data collected on patients who had this repair technique done. There are two studies published with data to show how patients fare one, five, and 10 years later. And the news is good! Eighty (80) to 84 per cent of the patients report being satisfied with the results. Their pain is better if not gone -- same for the swelling and loss of function. The results last well into the 10th year, a full decade after the procedure. So before you slide down the slippery slope of regret and remorse, rejoice and see yourself in that successful majority! Patients who became listed as failed implantation procedures were more likely to have knee alignment problems or large defects. You said your lesion was small (though deep). That's in your favor. You can always check in with your surgeon to see how he or she thinks you are doing and ask what are your chances for a good-to-excellent recovery. Having this information and a little perspective on your situation may calm your fears and allow you to move forward with complete and successful healing, recovery, and rehab.


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