Autologous chondrocyte implantation

Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) is a biomedical treatment that repairs damages in articular cartilage. ACI provides pain relief while at the same time slowing down the progression or considerably delaying ΤΚR. The goal of ACI is to allow people suffering from articular cartilage damage to return to their old lifestyle.

ACI procedures aim to provide complete hyaline repair tissues for articular cartilage repair. Over the last 20 years, the procedure has become more widespread and it is currently probably the most developed articular cartilage repair technique.

This cell based articular cartilage repair procedure takes place in three stages. In a first stage, almost 200mg  cartilage is sampled arthroscopically from a non weight bearing area. The matrix is removed enzymatically and the chondrocytes isolated. These cells are grown in vitro in a specialized laboratory for approximately four to six weeks, until there are enough cells to re-implant on the damaged area of the articular cartilage. The patient then undergoes a second treatment, in which the chondrocytes are applied on the damaged area during an open-knee surgery. These autologous cells should adapt themselves to their new environment by forming new cartilage. During the implantation, chondrocytes are applied on the damaged area in combination with a membrane as a scaffold matrix.