Microfracture is used to repair small areas of damaged cartilage, by making very tiny fractures in the bone to encourage the formation of new cartilage. It’s a minimally invasive procedure, which is carried out through arthroscopy – a type of keyhole surgery. In most cases you will be able to go home on the same day as your surgery.
Microfracture is used to treat conditions that have resulted in a loss of cartilage, and the majority of patients we see need treatment for sports injuries or arthritis. The aim of microfracture is to replenish areas of cartilage and prevent further damage, helping to avoid the need for more invasive surgery such as joint replacement.
Microfracture is usually carried out under general anaesthetic, so you will be completely unaware during your surgery. During the procedure, Mr Nirav Shah will make small fractures to your subchondral bone plate, which sits just underneath your cartilage. These fractures stimulate the release of blood and bone marrow, creating blood clots, which in turn produce cartilage-building cells.
The new cartilage that forms will help to cushion and protect your joint; however it won’t be as effective as your original cartilage – so it’s important that you follow any aftercare advice carefully in order to get the best results.
Microfracture is usually carried out as a day case, so you won’t need to stay in hospital. Following your operation you’ll need to avoid putting weight on the treated joint for 2-6 weeks – we’ll give you some crutches to help you get around during this period. You’ll then be able to start resuming light daily activities and return to work.
During your pre-operative assessment, a few days before your surgery, we’ll go through all your aftercare advice in detail. You’ll also have the chance to discuss this again on the day of your procedure and ask any questions. Two weeks after your surgery, you’ll need to come in for a follow-up appointment, and we’ll see you again 4-6 weeks after your operation. If you have any questions or concerns at any time, we’ll always be happy to help.