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Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI)

Damage to joint cartilage and the bone underneath can cause arthritis, inflammation and pain. Unfortunately, cartilage does not repair on its own and damage will continue to worsen without medical treatment. One option for those with joint cartilage or bone damage to repair and offer relief is Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation, or ACI. Dr. Kerisimasi Reynolds offers ACI at his practice in San Jose as one of his joint preservation treatments.

Chondrocytes are native cartilage cells which can reproduce, but do not do so on their own. When cartilage is damaged, inflammation and osteoarthritis can follow, causing pain and limited function of the joint. Replacing chondrocytes can regenerate healthy cartilage and delay the need for knee replacement surgery. This procedure is most commonly performed on the knee joint and is FDA-approved for knee joint preservation and treatment.

How ACI is Performed

Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI) is a two-stage procedure that uses the patient’s own cartilage cells to repair cartilage damage. The first procedure is done using arthroscopy. Through a small incision, chondrocytes from the joint are removed under the guidance of an arthroscope. This small cartilage sample is harvested and sent to a laboratory where the chondrocytes are isolated and cultured to multiply. This can take several weeks to create enough cells for implantation.

During the implantation procedure, the cultured cartilage cells are placed under a membrane that covers the damaged area. The cells continue to grow and mature, creating new cartilage that protects the joint and improves function. This is popular for knee joints but can be used on any joint that has hyaline cartilage.

Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI) can be a beneficial joint and cartilage preservation treatment, especially for young patients with cartilage damage. If you have been experiencing joint pain and want to explore joint preservation treatments including ACI, contact the practice of Dr. Reynolds today to schedule a consultation.

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