mc_squared Posted June 3, 2010 Share Posted June 3, 2010 Doctors 'regrow a knee from scratch' in pioneering procedure By Fiona Macrae Last updated at 6:19 PM on 3rd June 2010 Comments (3) Add to My Stories Patient: Helen James underwent the revolutionary knee-building treatment after she fell badly while smashing up a garden wall Thousands of people left needing a knee replacement will now be able to regrow one. Crippled footballers, skiers or arthritics who would previously have been told to grin and bear their pain are having it soothed away by lab-grown patches of cartilage. The tough but elastic material that cushions our joints and protects them from harm can be damaged through sporting injuries and accidents and doesn't heal in the body. But experts have found a way of regrowing it in the lab, creating customised patches to treat injuries. Young men and women who have benefited from the MACI, or matrix-induced chondrocyte implantation, technique, say it has helped them 'rebuild their lives'. The cutting-edge procedure beings with the surgeon scraping a small amount of healthy cartilage - around the size of two pencil erasers - from the patient's knee. The sample is then shipped to a specialist lab, where a cocktail of chemicals coax the cartilage cells, or chrondocytes, into growing. Within two months, the 200,000 or 300,000 cells in the initial sample will have turned into more than 10 million. Back in the hospital, the surgeon removes the damaged cartilage and plugs the hole with the lab-grown cartilage, which is then stitched or glued into place. Nursery manager Helen James, from Rugeley, Staffordshire, underwent the pioneering treatment after she fell badly while smashing up a garden wall. She was left with no cartilage inside the knee with bone rubbing directly onto bone. The 33-year-old said: 'I was living in agony. I was nervous but I had no pain from the surgery. 'It's mind-blowing to think that cartilage was taken out of my knee and regrown. It's very odd but amazing too.' Breakthrough: Doctors at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield operate on Ms James's knee Centres using the MACI technique, one of several operations used in preference to replacements in young patients, include the Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield. Surgeons there believe that, in the future, patients could also regrow the much larger amounts of cartilage for knee replacement surgery. James Arbuthnot, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, mainly uses MACI on patients considered too young to undergo full knee replacements. He said: 'The early results are very promising with regard to the reduction of pain and the improvement of function. 'Patients are often sportsmen and young active people whose injury means they can't even do the most basic of things. 'Even walking is often limited due to pain and swelling in the knee and we can really return them to a very high level of function. 'The idea is to try to get the knee functioning as optimally as possible before the full metal and plastic option. 'We are saving the patient from a knee replacement but it remains an option in the future, it doesn't burn the bridges.' Consultant surgeon Ashvin Pimpalnerkar does around 10 MACI ops a year. 'Cartilage cells don't multiply, that is why they have to go to a lab where growth factors are added,' said Mr Pimpalnerkar. 'It is an ama Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1283658/Doctors-regrow-knee-scratch-pioneering-procedure.html#ixzz0poXbXdcn Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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