Huge numbers of people from all walks of life strive to live active lifestyles that are full of enjoyable activities such as running, swimming, and participating in various kinds of sports. In order to maintain such active lifestyles, it is important for the joints of the body to be in as good shape as they possibly can. Unfortunately, the same sports that provide people with so much joy can often result in damage to the cartilage that is found in every joint, and this cartilage damage can then result in the gradual loss of joint function.
While damaged cartilage may not often heal well on its own, there are several modern surgical procedures that can often successfully repair damaged cartilage, and thus restore full function to damaged joints. This article will take a look at some of the options available to people who may need the relief that cartilage restoration surgery can provide.
What are Some Common Cartilage-Related Joint Injuries?
There are many types of cartilage, and there are also many types of injuries that can be sustained by joint cartilage. That being said, a large number of injuries an ailments that affect the joints of the body occur in the what is known as the articular cartilage. Articular cartilage is smooth, durable cartilage tissue that coats the end of bones where they terminate in joints.
These articular cartilage-coated bones allow the joints themselves to smoothly glide over each other when the joint is moved. When damaged, this kind of cartilage may become rough, pitted, or may even become completely detached, causing pain and reduced joint function. The following items are a list of some commonly diagnosed joint-cartilage complications.
- Osteoarthritis. This commonly found cartilage condition occurs when the articular cartilage becomes weakened. It can be caused by many things including aging, injury, heredity, and obesity.
- Direct Trauma. As its name suggests, direct trauma injuries result from acute, direct force directed at the articular cartilage. The trauma can be a result of falls, blunt force trauma, or sports-related injuries.
- Internal Infections. Various pathogens can cause damage to articular cartilage.
- Osteochondritis Dissecans. This is a complete detachment of the cartilage and an underlying shard of bone.
What are Some Common Cartilage Restoration Surgical Procedures?
A variety of invasive and non-invasive medical interventions are available to treat a variety of articular cartilage injuries and complications, including the following items.
- Osteochondral Autograft Transplant. This procedure uses healthy cartilage from the patient’s own body to repair damaged regions.
- Osteochondral Allograft Transplant. This procedure uses cartilage from a donor to repair damage.
- Microfracture. This procedure creates small holes in the bone underlying the damaged cartilage. This allows blood to well up from below, and thus form new cartilage in the joint.
- Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation. This procedure grows replacement cartilage cell outside of the body, then transplants these cells into the damaged regions.
There are a variety of tried and tested methods available for the repair of damaged cartilage. If you suspect that you may have cartilage damage, reach out to your physician.