Current Concepts of Articular Cartilage Restoration Techniques in the Knee

Christopher L. Camp, Michael J. Stuart, Aaron J. Krych

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Context:Articular cartilage injuries are common in patients presenting to surgeons with primary complaints of knee pain or mechanical symptoms. Treatment options include comprehensive nonoperative management, palliative surgery, joint preservation operations, and arthroplasty.Evidence Acquisition:A MEDLINE search on articular cartilage restoration techniques of the knee was conducted to identify outcome studies published from 1993 to 2013. Special emphasis was given to Level 1 and 2 published studies.Study Design:Clinical review.Level of Evidence:Level 3.Results:Current surgical options with documented outcomes in treating chondral injuries in the knee include the following: microfracture, osteochondral autograft transfer, osteochondral allograft transplant, and autologous chondrocyte transplantation. Generally, results are favorable regarding patient satisfaction and return to sport when proper treatment algorithms and surgical techniques are followed, with 52% to 96% of patients demonstrating good to excellent clinical outcomes and 66% to 91% returning to sport at preinjury levels.Conclusion:Clinical, functional, and radiographic outcomes may be improved in the majority of patients with articular cartilage restoration surgery; however, some patients may not fully return to their preinjury activity levels postoperatively. In active and athletic patient populations, biological techniques that restore the articular surface may be options that provide symptom relief and return patients to their prior levels of function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-273
Number of pages9
JournalSports Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014


  • autologous chondrocyte implantation
  • cartilage injuries
  • knee
  • microfracture
  • osteochondral allograft transplant
  • osteochondral autograft transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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