Articular cartilage refers to a tissue whose main objective is supporting weight and friction in the body. The subchondral bone is the only structure providing vascular support to articular cartilage.
It is worth mentioning that there are not so many cells (therefore not enough blood support) in this area. Due to the aforementioned, it has a limited capacity for regeneration and restoration.
How are cartilage defects?
Defects in the cartilage are defined as chondral or partial thickness when limited to articular cartilage, or osteochondral or full-thickness when the defect is deep enough to reach the subchondral bone.
Usually, there is no solution to fix chondral defects. However, experts have made new discoveries in this field.
What is the role of stem cells?
Since only the subchondral bone provides vascular support, experts take advantage of this. They take stem cells from the bone marrow to apply it in the damaged tissue.
We repair small lesions of full-thickness with hyaline cartilage, but large lesions are mostly repaired by fibrocartilage formations.
Which are other benefits?
Nowadays, we apply multiple treatments for cartilage injuries. We can mention microfracture, arthroscopic lavage and debridement, autologous or allogeneic osteochondral transplantation, and implantation of autologous chondrocytes, among others.
The main advantage is that this therapeutic option provides results and pain relief in a short time. However, the disadvantage is that some of the procedures need to undergo two steps.
Experts in the field need to collect and make chondrocytes expand. Besides, many of these therapies generally lead to fibrocartilage formation.
Stem cells derived from synovial tissue are known as a great option to repair cartilage.
How effective are stem cells?
Multiple clinical investigators at the London Spine Unit have reported on the efficacy and safety of stem cell therapies in cartilage repair for osteoarthritis and focal chondral lesions.
Many research studies have presented the results in cellular therapies. A vast majority of them demonstrated positive results, with minimal postoperative adverse effects.
If you want to read more about this innovative treatment click here.
At the London Spine Unit, Harley Street Hospital, we have some of the best specialists in this area. Book a consultation to get a doctor´s checkup.