Microfracture is a surgical procedure used for cartilage restoration. Cartilage restoration is a surgical procedure where orthopedic surgeons stimulate the growth of new cartilage tissue and restore the normal function. Cartilage restoration procedures help in delaying or preventing the development of arthritis.
Articular Cartilage is the white tissue lining the end of bones where these bones connect to form joints. Cartilage acts as cushioning material and helps in smooth gliding of bones during movement. An injury to the joint may damage this cartilage which cannot repair on its own.
Several techniques are employed for cartilage restoration including microfracture, drilling, abrasion arthroplasty, osteochondral autograft, and allograft transplantation.
Microfracture technique involves drilling of multiple holes into the subchondral bone located below the cartilage using a sharp tool called awl. These holes create new blood supply provoking healing response. The blood reaching into this place will bring the new cells stimulates the formation of new articular cartilage tissue. The procedure is done arthroscopically. Young patients with single lesion, lesion of area <1.5 cm, and healthy bone are suitable candidates for this procedure.