The Knee Chondral defect refers to the damage of the articular cartilage that is present at the end of femur (knee joint).This damage to the articular cartilage can be a result of a direct blow to the knee, an injury or can be due to the normal wear and tear due to ageing. It is not necessary that this defect had to be caused by a serious injury, many injuries over period of time can result in the onset of the articular damage. A simple cartilage defect can further result in bone to bone contact causing further tearing and a lot of pain.
Symptoms of Knee Chondral Defect:
Swelling is the one of the prime indicator of any kind of joint defect. The loose fragments of the damaged articular cartilage floating around the knee causes the locking or swelling. There are no obvious signs and symptoms of the damage. Some of the common symptoms associated with this Knee Chondral defect, include:
- Reduced range of movement.
- Pain with climbing stairs or longer walks.
- Inability to bear weights on the joints.
- Noisy-knee and joint clicking
Diagnosis and Treatment of Knee Chondral Defect:
Diagnosis of the Knee Chondral defect is done by using a 3-tesla MRI scanner to determine the location and depth of bone defect. Orthoscopic examination is also one of the most reliable method to accurately assess the damage of the defect.
Treatment for the Knee Chondral defect depends on the location and size of the defect. For patients with surface defect of the cartilage with a crack on it Chondroplasty is performed where the defect is cleaned or shaved out.
For patients whose defects extend up to the bone, the treatment is based on the diameter of the defect: for smaller lesions Micro fracture is performed. In cases where the bone under cartilage is also damaged, Autograft Osteochondral Transfer is done where replacement with bone and cartilage of another knee portion is done.
The role of PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) help in Treatment of Knee Chondral Defect:
Though a new addition to the world of Orthopaedics, (PRP) Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy, and research has shown how beneficial its inclusion can turn out to be.
What is PRP? How does it help?
Platelets are the elements of blood that help in blood clotting and contain certain growth factors that support healing. These platelets are separated from the rest of the blood components from patient’s blood and a Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) with higher than usual concentration of platelets is created.
And this PRP is used in treating the partial thickness chondral defects. Due to the lack of blood supply and low biological activity of the chondrocytes, the knee chondral defects have this very low capacity to self-repair. Being a rich source of growth factors, the Platelet-rich plasma can help in the tissue repair by stimulating cell proliferation.
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