ABICUS procedure – Stem Cells
Our surgeons have developed a pioneering new technique to regenerate the damaged joint surface (articular cartilage). The procedure has been trialled at University Hospital Southampton, with Gorav Datta as the principle lead for the trial. Patients are suitable if they have a full-thickness cartilage defect, with either normal or relatively normal surrounding articular cartilage (surrounding joint surface).
Image showing full thickness defect on the patella
The procedure involves taking bone marrow cells from the pelvis (containing Mesenchymal Stem Cells – MSCs) and concentrating them in the operating theatre to give a large number of cells in a small volume of fluid.
These cells are then placed on a membrane and implanted into the joint surface defect.
Image showing the Biological scaffold, the microscopic image shows the fibres allowing in-growth of cells
The procedure is performed via key-hole (arthroscopic) surgery and takes approximately 40 minutes. Patients can go home on the day of surgery.
Image showing same patient as above, this time following the procedure with impregnated membrane with stem cells to cover the defect in the cartilage.
What happens after the surgery?
Depending on which part of the knee undergoes surgery, you will most likely be in a knee brace for 6 weeks. The brace prevents full movement in the knee, but more is allowed every 2 weeks. You will only be allowed to partially weight bear whilst you are in the brace, and will need crutches for this period.
Once you are out of the brace you will have a rigorous rehabilitation programme with a physiotherapist, the full recovery is around 3 months.
You can find out more about the ABICUS procedure Here