Microfracture is a surgical technique that is beneficial to repair damaged articular cartilage damage by making multiple small holes in the joint surface to stimulate the healing response. This technique was frequently used in athletes to treat their injuries.
The joint surface is covered with articular cartilage, a smooth surface that never heals if it gets injured.
Microfracture brings a new blood supply to the surface by making holes into the underlying bone. Since its development, microfracture has treated more than two thousand patients. As a result, 70 to 80% of people experienced significant pain relief and improved inability to participate in sports and day-to-day activities.
The microfracture procedure is done arthroscopically, where the surgeon visually assesses the defect and performs the operation using some special instruments inserted through small incisions. Next, the unusable cartilage is removed from the exposed bone after assessing the damage to the cartilage. The surrounding rim of the cartilage is also checked for marginally attached cartilage. Finally, the loose cartilage is removed to provide a better stable edge around the defect’s cartilage. For optimum results, surgeons should follow a thorough cleaning and prepare the defect.
Multiple holes are then made exposed about three to four millimetres apart in the bone, called microfractures. Blood from the damaged area and bone marrow cells combine to form a super clot covering the damaged area. This new clot, rich in marrows, is the basis for new tissue formation. This clot then eventually matures into a firm repair tissue that becomes durable and smooth. It takes two to six months for the patients to experience improvement. Improvement likely continues for two to three years.
Complications that surround the microfracture surgery
-Some patients may develop mild pain after the surgery. In addition, small changes in the articular surface of this patellofemoral joint may cause a grating or “gritty” sensation, especially when a patient discontinues the use of the knee brace and resumes regular weight-bearing through the full range of motion.
-The stiffness of the knee can increase after the surgery in some cases.
-The new cartilage produced by microfracture surgery is not as strong as the body’s original cartilage. As a result, it breaks down more quickly.
-At times, blood clots also form after surgeries.
Post-surgery care to be taken
–Physical therapy starts right immediately after your surgery. You’ll also need to use a machine known as the CPM machine. This machine helps in gently exercising your leg for 6 to 8 hours per day for several weeks. This machine is typically used for six weeks following surgery.
-Your doctor will gradually increase the number of exercises you do until you can fully move your knee again. In addition, the exercises may aid in the healing of the new cartilage.
-Unless instructed, you will need to keep unnecessary weight off your knee for 6 to 8 weeks. Crutches will be required to get around. Keeping the weight off the knee promotes the growth of new cartilage. Check with your doctor to see how much weight you can put on your leg and for how long.
Call us today for a consultation. Our very own specialist, Dr Anuj Chawla is at your service to assist you.