“To speak to medical professionals who specialise in sports injury was a breath of fresh air. The experience for me was the best it could be, especially as an athlete with a potentially career-ending injury. Everyone was caring and I was given the hope I so badly needed. It was now possible that... Read More

“Everything was wonderful. I am now completely pain free and absolutely thrilled.”

“Thank you for the excellent operation you did on my knee. It has healed up really well with only a very small scar left. Most of the acute pain is now gone and each week it pains a little less. I am looking forward to the long (pain free) walks I used to do before. So many thanks, you are the... Read More

“Thank you so much for seeing me and treating me so quickly after my skiing accident! I was amazed and impressed that you managed to arrange my surgery so quickly. Mum and I have a nickname for you - GOD!”

“'Thank you' seems inadequate words for the debt of gratitude I owe you all. Your expertise and skills heal body and soul. Your care and kindness humble me.”

“I felt fully engaged from the start and actually found the whole process quite enjoyable! I felt informed without being patronised, well prepared, both by the consultation with Neil, the paperwork and booklets. The outcome has exceeded my expectations and the care was tremendous, as was the pain... Read More

“Neil performed a PCL replacement in my right knee back in 2000. At the time, it was a procedure that few knee surgeons had the skills to perform. He fully informed me of the risks attached to the procedure, the likelihood of success and allowed me to take my time to decide on how I wished to... Read More

“You fitted me with a completely new knee on 20th June. It is absolutely amazing and I'm getting on and off, riding and jumping with ease. It has brought back all the possibilities in retirement that had come to an end with a bad knee. It's not yet four months since the operation.....lets hope the... Read More

“Now that I seem to be well on the road to recovery, I'd like to thank you personally for my new partial knee replacement on 31st July 2017. Having not quite had the courage to watch the full operation on your website, I am nevertheless aware of the enormous skill and expertise required for this... Read More

Knee Joint Surface damage (Chondral)

Knee Joint Surface damage (Chondral)

 

Normal articular cartilage is tough and hard wearing. In many people it will not wear out and lasts a lifetime of coping with a million steps per year. Two normal cartilage surfaces lubricated with normal knee synovial fluid rubbing on each other have a coefficient of friction that is very slippery; more slippery than two ice cubes rubbing together.

Chondral damage means that there is an area of damage in the rubbery cartilage that covers the ends of the bones inside the knee joint. This cartilage acts as a shock absorber, and allows the bones to move smoothly over one another.

What causes Knee Joint Surface damage?

Chondral damage can be caused by an injury such as a twist, fall or direct blow to the knee, or the cartilage can wear away with time (known as osteoarthritis). Chondral damage caused by an injury often accompanies injury to a ligament, for example an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

In teenagers, sometimes a piece of the cartilage breaks away with a piece of bone, causing a type of damage known as osteochondritis dissecans.

There are no nerves in the cartilage so there are sometimes no symptoms at first. However, damage can disrupt the normal function of the joint and cause on-going pain and inflammation, as well as limiting mobility.

A diagnosis made during a medical examination can be backed up with an MRI scan to show the extent of the damage. You may also be offered an arthroscopy which allows the knee specialist to examine the joint and, in some cases, treat it at the same time.

How is it treated?

Cartilage does not have the ability to repair itself, so you may need knee arthroscopy to treat the condition.

An injury to the knee joint surface may occur with any trauma to the knee. When a fragment of cartilage breaks free this causes severe pain, swelling and catching in the knee. It is occasionally possible to re-attach these loose fragments and reconstruct the joint surface.

The most common situation is that the fragments need to be removed with keyhole (arthroscopic) surgery. The damaged area may simply require tidying up or chondroplasty to remove any loose edges. If the joint surface damage is more significant, surgery can then be carried out to try and encourage new cartilage to form, in the form of a Microfracture Procedure.

Articular cartilage has very low potential for self-repair. Once damaged, it does not tend to heal. Several procedures are available to regenerate joint surface cartilage in the form of Microfracture, OATS, and Cartilage Transplantation (MACI) though restoration to complete normality is usually not possible.