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Arthroscopic Microfracture
Dr. James Chen, M.D. - In San Francisco, CA



An arthroscopic procedure performed to stimulate healing of cartilage defects on the joint surface. Two or three small incisions are made around the hip. An arthroscopic camera and instruments are introduced into the joint and used to identify the cartilage defect. Multiple, tiny holes are drilled into the defect. This allows stem cells and bone marrow elements to migrate to the bone surface and promote cartilage repair.

Common Questions about Arthroscopic Microfracture

What is a microfracture procedure?

The microfracture procedure is an arthroscopic procedure in which multiple small holes are made in the bone at the base of the cartilage defect. These holes then clot with blood producing fibrocartilage which functions similar to native cartilage.

How do I know if the microfracture procedure is right for me?

Microfracture surgery is appropriate for small contained cartilage lesions. The procedure is not recommended for those with large lesions or moderate to severe osteoarthritis.

How successful is the procedure?

Studies show that the success range of the procedure varies from 60-70%.

What is the recovery process like?

Patients in recovery should avoid weight-bearing activities for 8 weeks. A return to sports or normal activities may take from 6-9 months. Patients start attending physical therapy when instructed by their physician and continue for the duration of their recovery process.

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