man on couch with knee pain

Joint Preservation: An Alternative to Joint Replacement

Walking, gardening and bending down to pick up your kids are activities we take for granted until they’re no longer second nature. Once joint pain sets in, these small tasks can become a challenge. Many believe that when it comes to joint pain you have only one solution: joint replacement. This is not always the case. Joint preservation provides alternative treatments to keep you moving.

Is Joint Preservation Right for You?

Joint preservation techniques are used on patients who have cartilage wear and tear. Ideal candidates for these procedures are typically less than 50 years of age with some cartilage damage, but still have healthy tissue remaining.

Joint Preservation Procedures Offered

Community’s Center for Joint Health provides procedures for preservation of both hips and knees.

Knee Preservation

Our knee preservation service offers the OATS and MACI procedures.

The OATS procedure, or Osteochondral Autograft Transfer System, is often referred to as a mosaicplasty. When this procedure is performed, plugs of cartilage and bone are taken from a healthy, non-weight bearing area of the joint and moved to replace a damaged area. The plugs used with an OATS procedure are usually larger, allowing your surgeon to only need to move one to two plugs for success. Overtime the bone and cartilage will grow into the damaged area to resolve joint pain.

MACI, or Matrix-Induced Chondrocyte Implantation, is a two-step procedure where new cartilage cells are grown and implanted within the existing damaged cartilage. The healthy cartilage is first removed from a non-weight bearing location. Tissues that have healthy cells, or chondrocytes, are sent off to the lab to grow. These cells are cultured and increased in number over a three to five week period. Once the cells have matured they are placed within a membrane for transfer, and are glued into place.

Both procedures provide the benefit of using your own tissue and cells, so there is a smaller risk of rejection.

Hip Preservation

Our hip preservation service offers arthroscopic hip labral repair and hip osteoplasty.

Hip arthroscopy is a less invasive method to address orthopedic problems that occur inside the hip joint, such as a torn labrum, damaged cartilage, or excessive bone growth. Through small incisions, your surgeon will place a camera inside the hip joint and use small instruments to repair and/or removed problematic tissue. This will result in pain relief and for the damaged tissue to heal.

In the case of osteoplasty, excess bone that causes painful impingement inside the hip is removed through an arthroscopic incision. These arthroscopic procedures can improve hip function for mild to moderate cases, where a hip replacement is not needed.

Ask About Joint Preservation

If you are interested in learning more about joint preservation techniques, call 317-621-2727 to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists, or sign up for our Online Hip and Knee Pain Seminar for next steps.