MACI – A New Regenerative Technique for Knee Problems

MACI for Knee ProblemsCartilage regeneration has been a long debated issue for orthopedic surgeons. In the case of runner’s knee, this problem can cause a lot of irritation where the kneecap rests on the thighbone.

Together the kneecap and the thighbone form a third joint known as the patellofemoral joint. It is at this junction that cartilage denegation or damage happens resulting in a sharp and sudden pain or one that is dull and chronic. The pain may affect one or both knees with symptoms including the following:

• Tenderness behind or around the kneecap.
• Pain located at the back of knee.
• Sense of cracking that the knee is giving out.
• More discomfort when treading on uneven terrain or climbing stairs.

In addition to cartilage getting damaged in this area from sports injuries, the same can also happen due to auto accidents as well as arthritis.

New Re-Generating Techniques

As the regenerative technology constantly evolves, it makes available a range of orthopedic surgery treatments for the prevention of bone, joint and muscle ailments.

A latest advancement is in the surgical methods is Matrix-Induced Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation. This invention was approved for use by FDA in 2017. It is a new cartilage regeneration procedure which allows the growth of chondrocyte cells on a biologic scaffold.
The new technology uses cells from the patient’s own cartilage to generate the scaffold and as opposed to earlier treatments, can be affixed to the cartilage.

The treatment has only recently surfaced in the US but has been operational in Europe for at least a decade with very promising results.
Basics of MACI include the following:
• In the first step of the MACI procedure, healthy chondrocytes are harvested on a sponge-like area of the bone.
• These cells are sent to the laboratory for 4-6 weeks to be cultivated over a sterile collagen membrane.
• The enriched scaffold is comparatively easier to implant and requires a minimal incision.
• The procedure is less painful with fast recovery.
• More than 6 weeks are required for the growth of the new cartilage cells.
• After the surgery, the cells grow to cover the defected area of the knee.
• The recovery period, as is true with most knee surgery procedures, is long and demands minimum movement to prevent damage to the new cartilages.
MACI appears to be an effective alternative for cartilage regeneration, compared to microfracture. If the quality of the cartilage used is good, MACI may be able to give surgeons a new technique at hand to prevent osteoarthritis.

Conclusion:

Cartilage damage can severely paralyze knee movement. The holes caused as a result of damaged cartilages can lead up to osteoarthritis. Compared to the old surgical techniques, new innovations in technology like MACI may prove effective as a procedure that requires a minimum invasion.
MACI, with the use of high-quality cartilages and minimal incision, places an implant on the knee to enable growth of new cells. FDA approval makes the effectiveness of this treatment promising for many suffering from runner’s knee and other knee issues.

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