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What is Chondroplasty?

Chondroplasty is a surgical procedure to repair and reshape damaged cartilage in a joint. The procedure involves smoothing degenerative cartilage and trimming any unstable flaps of cartilage.

Indications for Chondroplasty

Chondroplasty may be recommended if you have mild to moderate cartilage wear or a cartilage injury in your joint, rather than widespread or irreparable cartilage damage. Typically, damaged cartilage does not heal on its own as it does not have a proper blood supply. Medical intervention is necessary to correct the condition. Chondroplasty prepares the joint for further cartilage restorative procedures.

Chondroplasty Procedure

Chondroplasty is a surgical treatment for damaged joint cartilage. It is usually performed by a minimally invasive procedure called arthroscopy.

During the procedure, your surgeon:

  • Makes small incisions around your knee
  • Inserts an arthroscope (narrow illuminated tube with a camera) which provides an enlarged view of the inside of the joint on a monitor
  • Pumps fluid into the joint which expands it to improve visualization
  • Uses special tools to remove frayed cartilage or loose fragments
  • Trims the damaged cartilage and smoothes the remaining surface
  • Drains out the added fluid once the repair is complete
  • Closes the incisions with stitches to complete the procedure

Recovery from Chondroplasty

Though you may need crutches or other assistance after chondroplasty, you can usually return to normal activities within three weeks.

Benefits of Chondroplasty

Potential benefits of chondroplasty include:

  • Reduced joint pain
  • Improved joint function
  • Slows cartilage degeneration
  • Fast recovery and immediate relief
  • Repair or treatment of other abnormalities can also be performed during arthroscopy

Risks Associated with Chondroplasty

The above benefits apart, instances of slight risks such as scarring, or mild pain have been reported.

  • American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
  • American Medical Association
  • State Orthopedic Society UTAH
  • Medical College of Wisconsin