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Cartilage regeneration - knee
Physical therapy may begin in the recovery room right after surgery. A continuous passive motion machine (CPM) gently exercises your leg for 6 to 8 hours a day for several weeks. This machine is usually used for 6 weeks after surgery. Ask your surgeon how long you will use the CPM machine.
Your exercises will increase over time until you regain full range of motion in your knee. These exercises may speed up the new cartilage growth.
You will need to keep your weight off your knee for 6 to 8 weeks unless instructed otherwise. You will need crutches to get around. Keeping the weight off the knee will allow the new cartilage to regrow and form better tissue.
Physical therapy and doing exercises at home are needed for 3 to 6 months after surgery to get the best results.
Many people improve after this surgery, but recovery is slow. Many can return to sports or other intense activities in about 4 months. Athletes in very intense sports may not be able to return to their former level of competition.
Results are best when this surgery is done on people younger than 40 whose cartilage injury is recent. Results are also better for people that are not overweight. It is also most successful for small amounts of damage in the knee cartilage.
Beynnon BD, Johnson RJ, Brown L. Knee. In: DeLee JC, Drez D Jr, Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Drez’s Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 23.
Saris DB, Vanlauwe J, Victor J, Almqvist KF, Verdonk R, Bellemans J, et al. Treatment of symptomatic cartilage defects of the knee: characterized chondrocyte implantation results in better clinical outcome at 36 months in a randomized trial compared to microfracture. Am J Sports Med. 2009 Nov;37 Suppl 1:10S-19S.
Basad E, Ishaque B, Bachmann G, Stürz H, Steinmeyer J. Matrix-inducedautologous chondrocyte implantation versus microfracture in the treatment ofcartilage defects of the knee: a 2-year randomised study. Knee Surg SportsTraumatol Arthrosc. 2010 Apr;18(4):519-27.
Hurst JM, Steadman JR, O'Brien L, Rodkey WG, Briggs KK. Rehabilitation following microfracture for chondral injury in the knee. Clin Sports Med. 2010 Apr;29(2):257-65, viii.
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