Located at the ends of the shinbone (tibia) and thigh (femur), knee cartilage helps the knee joint glide during movement. Unfortunately, cartilage does not heal well on its own. For this reason, a technique called microfracture knee surgery offers a way for surgeons to stimulate the growth of new cartilage.
In microfracture knee surgery, a surgeon first will remove damaged cartilage, then will drill holes in exposed bone with a pick (called an "awl"). This will trigger the body's own healing response. A fresh blood supply will reach the joint surface, carrying cells that form new cartilage. The best candidates for microfracture knee surgery are young patients with isolated cartilage damage and healthy bone.
Microfracture knee surgery can be performed using an arthroscope — a miniaturized fiber-optic camera inserted into a small surgical incision.
The orthopedics departments of John C. Lincoln Hospitals invite you to watch the following interactive video about microfracture knee surgery.