Cartilage Repair (including Arthroscopic Repair)

Cartilage Repair – Description

A cartilage operation is a procedure designed to correct cartilage damage, most commonly articular cartilage damage of the knee.

Increasing numbers of people are engaging in higher impact and ever more adventurous forms of sport and extreme activities. These activities place great stress, strain and wear on the articular cartilage, muscles, ligaments and tendons of the knee. With early intervention is it is often possible to prevent severe and degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis. We are also able to use minimally invasive intervention methods such as keyhole surgery to rectify and repair the damage.

Whilst increasingly this condition is caused by sporting injuries, it is not exclusively the case and severe trauma or wear and tear over time can also result in damaged cartilage.

Banner Image of a male adult about to be examined for a knee injury

Before and After Arthroscopic Microfracture for Repair of Knee Cartilage

Arthroscopic image comparing a patients damaged cartilage before key hole knee surgery and again six months after the repair has been carried out.

This minimally invasive procedure demonstrates the resulting smooth surface and the extent that the damage has been repaired.

Microfracture injury before surgery and six months after repair surgery

Find Out More

  • Treatment Options
  • Recovery
  • Considerations
Treatment Options

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

There are a number of options depending on the severity and extent of the condition including:

The implanting of new cartilage designed to stimulate new growth in the damaged area, known as “Artificial Scaffold”. The implant consists of collagens and proteins designed to encourage regeneration of cartilage around the damaged area.

We can also replace the damaged cartilage with a healthy sample taken from another part of your body in a procedure known as “Mosaicplasty”.

Both methods listed above use keyhole (Arthroscopy) to undertake the operation keeping the surgery as low impact as possible and reducing recovery time where possible.

The damage may be more severe and in this circumstance the recommendation maybe total or partial knee replacement

Alternative Options

For less severe cartilage damage, non-surgical treatment may be recommended. This could include physiotherapy and prescribed painkillers.

Total Knee Replacement Surgery Image

Are there any alternatives to surgery?


As with any operation conducted under general anaesthetic it can take up to 48 hours for it to wear off and in normal circumstances you will be released home within two days.

In most cases you will be able to return to work within two weeks of the procedure and you will be given a clear timeframe post-operative depending on the severity of your initial condition. (For recovery of Total or Partial Knee Replacement please click here).

It will take a longer before you can drive, it will depend on when you stop experiencing pain and are able to perform an emergency stop safely. This is also the case with regard to strenuous exercise and activities and will be arrived at in consultation.

Total Knee Replacement Surgery Image



Fortunately most patients do well without having problems. A few can get problems like infection, bleeding, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), numb patch outer side of the incision, pain and stiffness.

Long term loosening of implant can occur, these cases can be revised i.e. the implant needs to be changed

Total Knee Replacement Surgery Image


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