Cartilage Restoration


Make an appointment to see how our board certified and fellowship trained Cartilage Restoration expert can help you.

Thomas K. John, MD
Joint Replacement

Oscar Vazquez, MD
Sports Medicine

Michael T. Benke, MD
Sports Medicine

Click here to get to know all of our physicians

Click below to See Our Collection of Patient Education Videos:video of orthopedic procedures


Drs. Thomas John, Michael Benke and Oscar Vazquez are all highly skilled surgeons who perform the very latest procedures to help restore articular cartilage and relieve pain. They specialize in various techniques such as Drilling and Abrasion Arthropasty (which help stimulate the production of healthy cartilage) as well as Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation and Osteochonral Autograft Transplantation. In addition, other pain relieving procedures are performed including Fluroscopic Guided injections and partial or full joint replacement surgery as necessary. These breakthrough treatments can relieve pain and allow better function. And in many cases, they can delay or prevent the onset of arthritis.

Working together to share knowledge and experience, our multidisciplinary team is comprised of highly trained physicians in every area of orthopedics and sports medicine. They each bring a breadth of expertise other orthopedic practices simply can’t match, including advanced procedures such as cartilage restoration.

We believe that patient education is an important part of providing exceptional care. Below are answers to some common questions about cartilage restoration. The knee is the most common area for cartilage restoration. Ankle and shoulder problems may also be treated.

Articular Cartilage Restoration
Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI)



Articular Cartilage Restoration

Articular cartilage is the smooth, white tissue that covers the ends of bones where they come together to form joints. Healthy cartilage in our joints makes it easier to move. It allows the bones to glide over each other with very little friction.

Articular cartilage can be damaged by injury or normal wear and tear. Because cartilage does not heal itself well, doctors have developed surgical techniques to stimulate the growth of new cartilage. Restoring articular cartilage can relieve pain and allow better function. Most importantly, it can delay or prevent the onset of arthritis.

Surgical techniques to repair damaged cartilage are still evolving. It is hoped that as more is learned about cartilage and the healing response, surgeons will be better able to restore an injured joint.

The most common procedures for cartilage restoration are:

• Microfracture Drilling
• Abrasion Arthroplasty
• Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation
• Osteochondral Autograft Transplantation
• Osteochondral Allograft Transplantation


Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI)

What is Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI)?

ACI is a two-step procedure. New cartilage cells are grown and then implanted in the cartilage defect.

First, healthy cartilage tissue is removed from a non-weightbearing area of the bone. This step is done as an arthroscopic procedure. The tissue which contains healthy cartilage cells, or chondrocytes, is then sent to the laboratory. The cells are cultured and increase in number over a 3- to 5-week period.

An open surgical procedure, or arthrotomy, is then done to implant the newly grown cells. The cartilage defect is prepared. A layer of bone-lining tissue, called periosteum, is sewn over the area. This cover is sealed with fibrin glue. The newly grown cells are then injected into the defect under the periosteal cover.

ACI is most useful for younger patients who have single defects larger than 2 cm in diameter. ACI has the advantage of using the patient’s own cells, so there is no danger of a patient rejecting the tissue. It does have the disadvantage of being a two-stage procedure that requires an open incision. It also takes several weeks to complete.

Contact Us for more information about Cartilage Restoration.