What is Chondroplasty?
Dr. Padalecki is trained to perform arthroscopic chondroplasty. Using several keyhole incisions and a tiny camera to view the inside of the hip joint, Dr. Padalecki reshapes the surface of the hip joint and smooths out irregularities and removes loose pieces of floating cartilage. He also meticulously removes cartilage pieces that have been caught between the surfaces of the joint. This particular approach is successful in patients with small, partial thickness conditions where the damage has not yet reached the bone itself. Many patients are able to resume normal activities with minimal pain.
What is Microfracture?
Following the chondroplasty procedure, Dr. Padalecki may also determine that the Microfracture technique is required in order to promote the growth of cartilage in the injured area of the joint. Microfracture is performed so that a fresh set of marrow cells and blood supply can be introduced to the damaged area of cartilage, which helps promote new cartilage production. During this procedure, the most superficial layer of the exposed bone is removed and small holes are then made in the area of exposed bone creating “microfractures” that allow the bone marrow elements to flow into the joint. These fractures are meant to provide a new source of blood supply and marrow cells for new cartilage growth. In most cases, a layer of fibrocartilage will form to cover the exposed bony defect. This type of cartilage is slightly different than the normal cartilage found in joints but provides relief of symptoms and preservation of the surrounding cartilage in the joint by covering the bone.
How Long is the Recovery After Microfracture and Chondroplasty?
The post-op processes following chondroplasty and Microfracture vary but are very important in the overall recovery of the patient. During the recovery time, patients will avoid certain hip motions but will be allowed to move the hip with the guidance of a therapist. Following a chondroplasty (without Microfracture), patients are typically kept on crutches for 3 weeks and then allowed to weight bear as tolerated. After Microfracture, patients are encouraged to avoid full weight bearing on the affected limb for 6 to 8 weeks to provide an optimal environment for the cartilage to fill in.
For more information on articular cartilage treatments, such as chondroplasty and Microfracture, please contact the office of Dr. Jeff Padalecki, Austin, Texas hip surgeon.