Transplantation of chondrocytes (cartilage cells) is a three-part process that takes place over a period of weeks to months. The patient actually donates his or her own healthy cells.
Arthroscopic surgery is done to remove chondrocytes from a nonweightbearing portion of the knee joint. These are transferred to a lab where they are grown and multiplied outside the body. The lab process takes about three to six weeks.
When ready the cells are frozen and returned to the surgeon who prepares the surgical site and injects them into the cartilage/bone defect.