Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) is a surgical procedure used to treat cartilage defects in the knee joint. The procedure involves removing a small amount of healthy cartilage cells (chondrocytes) from the patient’s knee, which are then grown in a laboratory culture for several weeks.
Once the chondrocytes have grown, they are implanted into the patient’s knee joint using a surgical procedure. The cells are placed in the damaged area of cartilage, where they can grow and produce new cartilage to fill in the defect.
ACI is typically used in younger patients with larger areas of cartilage damage who have not responded to other treatments such as microfracture surgery or conservative therapy. The procedure is typically performed as an outpatient procedure and requires a period of rehabilitation and physical therapy to help the new cartilage grow and fully develop.
While ACI has shown promise as a treatment for cartilage defects in the knee, the effectiveness of the treatment can vary depending on the individual patient’s condition, the size and location of the damaged area, and other factors. Some patients may experience significant pain relief and improved function following the procedure, while others may not respond as well to the treatment.
ACI is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, with minimal risk of adverse reactions or complications. However, as with any medical procedure, it is important for patients to discuss the risks and benefits of ACI with their healthcare provider before undergoing the treatment.