Chondroplasty

Chondroplasty is a surgical procedure used to smooth damaged cartilage in the knee. The goal of the surgery is to lessen friction in the joint, allowing the knee to move freely and without pain. The knee joint is covered in articular cartilage, which is a smooth tissue that allows the joint to move without friction. Trauma and degenerative conditions can damage the cartilage and cause it to become rough. Studies have found that the majority of patients who undergo chondroplasty are satisfied with the results of the procedure.

Chondroplasty is done arthroscopically. This means that a thin instrument made up of a camera and light is inserted into the knee through a very small incision, allowing the surgeon to assess and remove the damage. Arthroscopy also allows the surgeon to look for and treat other damage in the knee at the same time.

Benefits

This is a minimally invasive procedure that treats the pain associated with the breakdown of the articular cartilage in the knee. Arthroscopic chondroplasty allows the surgeon to visualize the knee and identify causes of your symptoms using just a small incision or two. If more than one issue is found, they can be repaired during the same procedure.

Recovery is fast and relief is felt almost immediately. There is little risk, scarring or pain involved with this procedure.

Procedure

The surgeon will make small incisions around the knee, each measuring approximately half an inch. The arthroscope will be inserted, allowing the surgeon to see the inside of your knee joint on a monitor. A special instrument may be inserted to pump fluid into the joint to expand it for a better look.

Small surgical instruments are used to remove any loose fragments and shave down the damaged cartilage. Once finished, the added fluid will be drained and the incisions closed with a stitch each.

If the surgeon finds another abnormality in the knee, it may also be repaired during the procedure.

Conditions/Symptoms Treated

Chondroplasty treats damaged articular cartilage in the knee so that new healthy tissue is able to grow and allow the knee to move smoothly again.  It is used to treat damage that is caused by:

  • Trauma to the knee
  • Degenerative conditions, such as arthritis

The procedure treats a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Knee joint pain
  • Stability issues
  • Popping, locking or “giving” of the knee