Advancements Made In Knee Cartilage Treatment For Patients Over 40

Recent research from New York has found that, for patients over 40 years old, cartilage restoration procedures can still be a viable option for treatment.

It was discovered that procedures using different types of cartilage plugs improved function in patients with damage to their articular cartilage, and also relieved pain. This was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, after being conducted at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York.

The studies

The patients were split into groups depending on the details of their injuries; although all had areas of swelling and pain with degenerative changes in their cartilage. The first study featured 35 patients, who suffered from cartilage damage behind their kneecap. The second study looked at 61 patients, where their damage was located at the end of their femur. All patients had a minimum follow-up of two years post-surgery, and also had no knee injuries besides the articular cartilage lesion.

Quotes from the research staff

Speaking on the research, Riley Williams, senior study author and director of the Institute for Cartilage Repair at HSS, said:

Various cartilage restoration procedures have demonstrated success rates ranging from 50 to 90 per cent, but the majority of reported results were in patients aged 30 and younger.”

Our studies are the first to look at outcomes of three specific procedures used to repair damaged cartilage in patients over 40.”

The results

Various types of plugs were used in this surgery, with a number of patients receiving a synthetic plug, and other patients receiving a plug of articular cartilage from a healthy area of their knee or a donors cartilage plug.

At the follow-up time of 3 and a half years, the vast majority of the patients said that they suffered less pain and were also more active; reporting a high level of satisfaction with the procedure.

Riley Williams had this to say about the results:

For the first time, this middle-aged group of athletic individuals may have some good options to repair cartilage lesions.”

In addition to improving their quality of life, this may help them delay the need for a knee replacement down the road.”

Quotes from an OrthTeam consultant

Philip Turner is a consultant knee and trauma surgeon specialising in sports injuries and knee arthritis, and had the following to say:

"Patients in the over 40 age group with damage to the joint surface are often told that nothing can be done until they are old enough and bad enough for a knee replacement.  This article supports the use of novel techniques that are available through the OrthTeam knee consultants.”

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