Doctors in central England developed an operation that enables patients to regrow cartilage from nothing, the Birmingham Mail newspaper reported Friday.
The revolutionary procedure, developed at Birmingham's Good Hope Hospital, could give injured athletes, arthritis sufferers and young patients a change to repair damaged knee caps without painful — and often career-ending — knee replacements.
“It is quite an expensive procedure, so this is aimed at younger patients or traumatic sports injuries at the moment," orthopedic surgeon Ashvin Pimpalnerker said. "Cells are impregnated onto a graft where they grow, and the cartilage is replaced like for like when put back in.”
Surgeons remove cells from the patient's cartilage and cultivate new cells over a period of weeks. The laying down of fresh cartilage in a knee takes little more than an hour.
“I was living in agony,” said patient Helen James, 33.
“I was nervous, but I had no pain from the surgery. It’s mind-blowing to think that cartilage was taken out of my knee and regrown. It’s very odd but amazing too.”