Articular cartilage repair (Characterised Chondrocyte Implantation) at Spire Leeds Hospital

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.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Ram Venkatesh, performs this surgery at Spire Leeds. Our highly skilled orthopaedic surgeons work in laminar flow theatres to reduce the risk of infection.

Why you might need it

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 (cartilage cells) transplantation, however, is a durable treatment that can regenerate the damaged cartilage.

Characterised chondrocyte implantation (CCI) surgery is typically considered for cartilage damage that causes symptoms in a knee that is stable, and in a patient motivated for rehabilitation.

How much does Articular cartilage repair (Characterised Chondrocyte Implantation) cost at Spire Leeds Hospital

We can't display a fee for this procedure just now. Please contact us for a quote.

Who will do it?

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want.  They’ll be with you every step of the way: from giving advice at your first consultation, through to offering on-going support after your treatment.

All of our surgeons are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well equipped hospitals.

Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. A number of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field

Before your treatment

Before you embark on any treatment or surgery, you will need to come for a formal initial consultation.  During this time you can explain your medical history, diagnosis and any concerns you might have.

Your experienced consultant will talk to you about what you can reasonably expect in terms of pain relief. Together you’ll decide whether you would benefit from characterised chondrocyte implantation (CCI) surgery.

We're here to listen and help you every step of the way.

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Preparing for your treatment

We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.

For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

Although this is a relatively straightforward process, you may be required not to eat solid foods or certain drinks for a period of time before your procedure. You may see this referred to as 'starve times', and we will advise you of these before your admission.

Your treatment may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow the advice that we give to you. It's natural to feel anxious before hospital treatment, but knowing what to expect can help. Please raise any concerns or questions with us so you feel comfortable and in control.

The procedure

Characterised chondrocyte implantation (CCI) surgery is performed in two steps, usually 6-8 weeks apart. The first operation is an arthroscopic procedure carried out as a day case. This allows the consultant to fully assess the joint and remove a small sample of healthy articular cartilage cells. The cells are then sent off to a laboratory where they are grown and multiplied.

The second operation involves open knee surgery where the expanded cartilage cells are implanted back in to the knee and kept in place by a biological membrane.


After the procedure, you will be taken from the operating theatre to a recovery room, where you will come round from the anaesthesia under close supervision.  After this, you will be taken to your room where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home. It is likely you will be in hospital between one and three days.

You will be fitted with a hinged brace which will protect your knee and restrict flexion. You will need to wear this for approximately six weeks.


To get the maximum benefit from your surgery, it is important that you follow your consultant’s recommendations and adhere to a specific rehabilitation programme which may last up to a year. This will include a gradual increase in the level of weight bearing as well as muscle strengthening and range of motion exercises.

You should follow your surgeon’s advice about driving, returning to work, and resuming your usual physical activities. You should not drive until you feel you could do an emergency stop without discomfort.

How your loved ones can help

You should ask a friend or relative to pick you up from the hospital and if you live alone ask them to stay the next day to help with light chores.

You shouldn’t engage in strenuous activity (even some of the heavier housework chores or lifting heavy shopping bags) for 6-8 weeks so you might want to talk to them about how they can help you during that time – particularly if you live alone.

Looking after you

Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way. When you leave hospital we’ll provide you with relevant information and painkillers.

We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.

Typically, your consultant will want to see you six weeks after your treatment to see how you’re doing.

Why choose Spire?

We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.

How to get to us

Spire Leeds Hospital is situated just off Leeds' main A6120 ring road, approximately three miles from Leeds city centre. We're just minutes from local landmarks Tropical World and Roundhay Park.

We're 15 minutes by car from the city centre and the mainline railway station.

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Spire Leeds Hospital,

Jackson Ave

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Important information about COVID-19 tests

COVID-19 testing or antibody tests are not available as a standalone service at Spire Leeds Hospital.


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