Cartilage Restoration Specialist

IASM

Jeffrey Halbrecht, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Physician located in San Francisco, CA

Cartilage restoration is an innovative and effective method of restoring function to damaged joints. Located in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, California, board-certified orthopedic surgeon Jeffrey Halbrecht, MD, was one of the first surgeons in the United States to perform cartilage implantation. As the leading provider at IASM, Dr. Halbrecht uses cartilage restoration to treat cartilage injuries of the knee. To find out if cartilage restoration is right for you, book an appointment by phone or online today.

Cartilage Restoration Q & A

What causes knee cartilage damage?

The bones connected to your knee joint are lined with articular cartilage — specialized tissue that allows the bones to glide smoothly. Damage to the cartilage in your knee can cause painful symptoms and limit your mobility. Although cartilage is made to cushion and protect the bones, it can become damaged due to several factors. 

The first possible cause of knee damage is trauma. A fall or aggressive movements like forceful twisting and rotating can cause damage to the articular cartilage in your knee. 

Conditions like arthritis can also cause inflammation and damage the cartilage in your knee. Because cartilage has no blood supply, it has a limited ability to heal after trauma or degeneration. If you experience cartilage damage, Dr. Halbrecht can help you restore the health and function of your knee. 

What is cartilage restoration?

Cartilage restoration is an exciting advancement in the treatment of knee injuries. Also known as chondrocyte implantation, cartilage restoration is a technique used to regrow damaged areas of cartilage. In the process, cartilage cells are harvested from the injured knee, cloned in a lab, and then reimplanted back into the damaged joint. Cartilage restoration is an effective procedure that offers patients a 90% chance of successful recovery.  

How is cartilage restoration performed?

Cartilage restoration is performed through two minimally invasive procedures. Dr. Halbrecht specializes in arthroscopic surgery, a surgical technique that allows him to view and treat the knee joint without making large incisions. 

During the first procedure, Dr. Halbrecht removes some of your cartilage and sends it to a lab where the cells are cloned. The initial tissue sample removal is an in-office procedure that’s performed under local anesthesia. 

After four weeks, the cartilage cells are ready for reimplantation. Dr. Halbrecht exposes the joint through a small incision. He then injects the cultured cartilage cells in the area of your damaged joint. After the procedure, you begin physical rehabilitation including two weeks on a passive motion machine, quadriceps contractions, and leg raises. Weight-bearing exercises are prohibited for six weeks to protect the newly implanted cells. 

You’re able to return to your normal physical activity after the cartilage has matured, which can take anywhere from six months to a year. To learn more about repairing your damaged knee joint with cartilage restoration, schedule your visit by phone or online today.