When it comes to the knee joint, the health and integrity of cartilage is essential for proper movement and function without limitations or pain. When the cartilage becomes damaged, microfracture surgery can be a good option for restoring mobility and alleviating discomfort. However, in order to decide if this procedure is right for you, it’s important you understand some of the benefits and limitations.
How Microfracture Surgery Works
The surface layer of the bone in the knee joint is very hard and lacks good blood flow, making the natural repair process more difficult when injured. During microfracture surgery, tiny holes are made in the surface bone so that more blood-rich bone tissue can rise to the surface layer. By introducing more vascular tissue to the damaged area, the repair and growth of cartilage is stimulated, which in turn promotes healing.
What Makes a Good Candidate?
Microfracture surgery may be an appropriate option for patients with small areas of cartilage damage that are limited to only the femoral portion of the knee or the tibial part of the knee, but not both. Because they often experience knee injuries, athletes commonly receive this procedure and are able to return to their previous level of performance within several months.
A good candidate will also be in good overall health and does not have extensive deterioration or damage in the knee joint. Patients should be aware of the rigorous rehabilitation schedule they will be required to follow in the months after surgery and must commit to all necessary therapy in order to recover properly. Because of this time commitment, I’ve largely replaced microfracture surgery with stem cell therapy in my own practice.