Anyone who plays sports can experience an injury that damages cartilage, which is the protective, rubbery tissue that covers the tips of your bones. Athletes who overuse their knees can also cause cartilage to wear away. When non-surgical treatment is not sufficient to heal your injury, you can benefit from a variety of surgical procedures.

At MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, our sports medicine specialists have experience in the most cutting edge surgical procedures, many of which are not available at other hospitals in the area.

Your sports medicine surgeon inserts an arthroscope, or thin tube, into the cartilage in your knee. The arthroscope beams images of your affected area onto a video screen. The sports medicine surgeon also inserts specialized instruments through the arthroscope to create small holes in your bones that provide space for new, healthy cartilage to grow. This new cartilage takes the place of your injured cartilage. The procedure repairs minor knee cartilage problems and helps prevent you from developing further difficulties, including knee arthritis.

  • Osteoarticular transfer system (OATS) procedure: Your sports medicine surgeon will take healthy cartilage from one area of your knee and use it to replace damaged cartilage. OATS works well when you have smaller amounts of injured cartilage. 
  • Osteoarticular allograft: Your sports medicine surgeon will take healthy cartilage from a deceased organ donor and use it to replace damaged cartilage in your knee. This procedure works well when you have a large amount of damaged cartilage and cannot use your own tissue to replace it.
  • Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI): The first step in this procedure is arthroscopic surgery to remove healthy cartilage cells and tissue from the knee area. Next,we grow the healthy sample in the lab for about a month. Then, we take the new sample of healthy cartilage cells and implant them into the damaged cartilage using traditional open surgery.
  • Cartilage transplant: Transplants replace damaged cartilage from either your own healthy cartilage, or from deceased organ donors.

Cartilage Restoration Surgery – MedStar Georgetown’s Personalized Approach

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital offers you a team of sports medicine surgical leaders in cartilage restoration procedures. Our team will carefully evaluate your injury and determine the best approach for you. We have experience in performing the most cutting edge and unique surgical procedures to repair damaged cartilage. We work with you and your family to develop an approach that will allow you to enjoy an active lifestyle once again.

We use cartilage restoration surgery to address a variety of cartilage injuries to the knee.

Cartilage Restoration Recovery

Recovery from cartilage restoration surgery involves both time and rehabilitation. You may need to wear a protective brace on your knee and use crutches immediately following surgery. Then, you will likely need to do physical therapy to restore your strength and range of motion in your knee. Your sports medicine surgeon will discuss the specific details of your recovery with you before your surgery so you know what to expect.


Make an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a sports medicine specialist, please call our scheduling line.

Phone: 202-295-0549

Sports Medicine Specialists