Because of its biological make-up, cartilage has only a slight self-regenerating capacity. There are various suitable treatments, depending on the severity of the cartilage damage. Some treatments aim merely at reducing pain and improving mobility (debridement). With more serious cartilage injury, however, forms of treatment are needed which guarantee reconstruction of the cartilage. Conventional treatments using fibroplast ingrowth load to the formation of fibrocartilage. Fibrocartilage consists mainly of Type 1 collagen. In terms of its quality and mechanical stability, fibrocartilage has much lower load-bearing capability than hyaline cartilage.
In cases of localised cartilage damage and intact cartilage conditions, techniques may be used which supply hyaline cartilage to the defect. The specific cartilage- inducing operating procedure used depends on the extent and nature of the cartilage damage and the quality of the remaining cartilage. Osteochondral transplantation is recommended for damage measuring 2-3 cm2. Operations using proCART instrumentation can be performed in either open or arthroscopic surgery. The design and user-friendly handling of the proCART system permits the transplantation of osteochondral plugs during any arthroscopic surgery without substantial advance preparation. Thus osteochondral transplantation (OCT) is certain to become one of the standard arthroscopic treatments for cartilage defects.
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