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Autologous Chondrocyte Transplantation

If you need a autologous chondrocyte transplantation, please Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists as soon as possible.

What Is Autologous Chondrocyte Transplantation?

Autologous chondrocyte transplantation (ACT) is a surgical procedure used to repair focal cartilage defects or injuries in joints, typically the knee. It involves the transplantation of a patient’s own healthy cartilage cells (chondrocytes) into the damaged area to promote the growth of new, functional cartilage.

The ACT procedure generally follows these key steps:

  1. Cartilage Harvesting: A small amount of healthy cartilage tissue is harvested from a non-weight-bearing area of the patient’s joint, such as the edge of the knee joint.
  2. Cell Cultivation: The harvested cartilage tissue is sent to a laboratory where the chondrocytes are isolated and cultured to increase their numbers. This process usually takes a few weeks.
  3. Defect Preparation: During a separate surgical procedure, the damaged area of the joint is prepared. The damaged cartilage is typically removed, and the underlying bone is shaped to create a stable base for the transplanted cells.
  4. Chondrocyte Implantation: The cultured chondrocytes are then implanted into the prepared defect. They may be delivered alone or within a scaffold or matrix, which helps hold the cells in place and support their growth.
  5. Postoperative Rehabilitation: Following the procedure, a period of rehabilitation is usually prescribed. This may involve a period of restricted weight-bearing, the use of crutches, and a gradual progression of physical therapy exercises to promote healing and recovery.

The goal of autologous chondrocyte transplantation is to promote the growth of new cartilage tissue that closely resembles the patient’s original cartilage, thereby restoring joint function and reducing pain. This technique is most suitable for focal cartilage defects in patients who have otherwise healthy surrounding cartilage and are experiencing symptoms such as pain, swelling, and limited joint mobility.

ACT is considered a more complex and involved procedure compared to simpler techniques such as arthroscopic chondroplasty. It is typically recommended for larger cartilage defects or for individuals who have not experienced sufficient improvement with conservative treatments.

As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with autologous chondrocyte transplantation, including infection, bleeding, graft failure, formation of scar tissue, and limited improvement in symptoms. The success of the procedure depends on various factors, including the patient’s age, overall health, and the specific characteristics of the cartilage defect.

It is important to consult with an orthopedic surgeon specializing in cartilage restoration to evaluate your specific joint condition and determine if autologous chondrocyte transplantation is a suitable treatment option for you. The surgeon will consider various factors, such as the size and location of the defect, your overall joint health, and individual goals, to provide personalized treatment recommendations.


If you would like to speak to an Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Specialist, give us a call at 817-697-4038, or contact us over the web. Tele-medicine appointments are also available.