Autologous Cartilage Transfer

Autologous chondrocyte transfer is a treatment for defects in the articular cartilage that lines the joint.  It involves taking a sample of normal cartilage from inside the knee and sending it to a lab to be cultured.  Here the cells are multiplied in the culture before reimplantation into the knee under a flap of membrane that is sutured over the defect.  The cells then implant into the area producing a new articular cartilage covering to the bone. 

NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence) in the UK has stated that, as this procedure is very expensive and still under investigation as to it's effectiveness, it should only be performed by surgeons involved in a clinical trial designed to assess the outcome of the surgery.

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