Skip to navigation Skip to Content

Knee cartilage restoration


​​​​​​​​​​If your sore knee is causing you to cut back on favorite activities, Marshfield Clinic may have a solution.

Cartilage restoration may work better than total knee replacement.

The damaged cartilage is removed and replaced by healthy cartilage.

An orthopedic surgeon may use one of three techniques:

  • Micro fracture​
  • Transplanting the patient's own cartilage from another site
  • Transplanting donor cartilage 

The first procedure involves removing unhealthy cartilage to stimulate growth of new tissue. This approach may be a good first step, but may not provide the best long-term solution.

In the second, a surgeon transplants a sample of the patient's cartilage to the knee for regeneration. This is useful for smaller defects.

The third technique is like the second, however it uses donor cartilage for the transplant. 

Younger patients are better candidates for these procedures.

Recovery includes no weight-bearing activities for two to three months, then physical therapy.

You can get back to higher level activities in about eight to 10 months and within a year, do what you did before. The restored cartilage can make it possible to continue in your sport.​

Request Appointment

Contact us for care

If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Call: 1-866-520-2510

(Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

What Do You Know About Knee Injury?

Your knees are complex joints and that makes them vulnerable to injury. Learning how to prevent knee injuries and treating them if they occur can help you stay active at work and play. Test your knowledge of knees by taking this quiz, based on information from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

1. Ligaments connect muscles to bones.
2. The knee has 7 ligaments.
3. You may hear a popping sound when a knee ligament is injured.
4. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is most often injured by lifting something heavy.
5. Which test is NOT used to diagnose a knee ligament injury?
6. A knee ligament can be repaired with a surgery called:
7. The ACL can be rebuilt with a piece of your own knee or leg tendon.

 Related Specialties