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Cartilage Repair and Restoration Program

There are two types of cartilage in the knee, the meniscus cartilage (the shock absorber of the knee) and articular cartilage of the knee which covers the bones in the knee joint. In cases of extreme or extensive articular cartilage wear, patients develop osteoarthritis and may require a knee replacement. In young and active patients, knee cartilage injuries or defects (to either the meniscus or the articular cartilage) can do more than just limit activities due to pain and swelling. If left untreated, these injuries can lead to more serious disability and, in severe cases, early knee replacement.

Our Cartilage Repair and Restoration Program follows a research-driven approach to providing patients with the best possible outcomes to enhance their quality of life.

Our Approach

Currently, procedures to repair articular cartilage are not designed to treat the extensive cartilage loss seen in knee osteoarthritis. However, there are procedures that are highly effective in the treatment of cartilage defects in a particular location, such as those associated with an acute injury.

In the case of extensive meniscus tissue loss, however, there are options for treatment such as meniscus allograft transplantation or osteotomy or even non-operative treatments such as the use of unloader braces. Not every patient is a suitable candidate for cartilage restoration or meniscus transplant surgery. These procedures are ideal for active people under age 50. Our experienced providers assess the patient's condition and help them to make an informed decision. Our Sports Medicine Surgeons are fellowship-trained and have expertise in meniscus transplant, osteochondral autograft and allograft procedures, and 2nd and 3rd generation cartilage restoration procedures.

The Sports Medicine Division of Yale Orthopaedics provides specialized care for adults and children with cartilage injuries. The Cartilage Repair and Restoration Program offers the best possible current technology and expertise to enable patients to have a successful return to normal activities. The Cartilage Repair and Restoration Program utilizes the highest quality advanced imaging including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for patient evaluation, in collaboration with Yale University’s Department of Radiology to determine the size and extent of cartilage injury to optimize patient treatment and surgical planning.

When surgery becomes necessary for patients with cartilage and meniscus injury, our faculty offers extensive data and research-driven expertise. The ultra-high technology facilities of McGivney Advanced Surgery Center in New Haven and Greenwich Hospital allow our surgeons to provide state-of-the-art, cutting-edge surgical treatments in order to give patients the best potential for maximal recovery. After surgery, our team also works closely with affiliated physical therapists who are well-versed in managing patients in their recovery phase of healing. This collaboration ensures individualized treatment plans, aimed to optimize recovery and return to function.

Our Team

The treatment of cartilage injuries remains one of the most difficult challenges in medicine. The Cartilage Repair and Restoration Program brings together world-renowned scientists and physicians to meet this challenge. Our team is dedicated to providing patients with the most advanced and effective treatments for meniscus and articular cartilage injuries. Our research helps shape the future of cartilage repair and regeneration, and with the goal of improving not only our patients' lives, but also making contributions to medical science to the benefit of all.

Cartilage Repair and Restoration Program Faculty