Articular cartilage is the weight-bearing surface in joints, and cannot repair itself. Injury to articular cartilage typically causes pain on activity, catching and swelling of the joint. If left untreated, degeneration and eventual osteoarthritis can result. Sports injuries are the prime cause of cartilage damage in 16-50 year olds.
Some treatment options aim to create a ‘scar’ over the damage. Chondrocyte transplantation (MACI), however, is durable treatment that can regenerate the damaged cartilage.
How MACI works
A sample of the patients’ own cartilage, harvested by keyhole surgery, is grown and expanded in a laboratory. These cells are then re-implanted in the damaged area.
MACI is now available in Scotland at Spire Murrayfield Hospital and is led by Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Miss Leela Biant. Miss Biant has researched and refined the technique for over ten years. The research continues toward the potential use of adult stem cells for this technique.
Who may be suitable for this treatment?
MACI is typically considered for cartilage damage that causes symptoms in a knee that is not unstable, and in a patient motivated for rehabilitation. For very small areas of damage other treatments can be effective, for larger areas of injury, however, MACI can be the best solution.
How to access this service
Patients who wish to access this service require a referral from their GP. If you wish to see a consultant orthopaedic surgeon privately about MACI, ask your GP for a referral to Miss Leela Biant at Spire Murrayfield Hospital.