In a new development in the treatment of damaged knee, some Swiss surgeons have successfully treated it by using nasal cartilage. There is no gold standard for treatment of cartilage injuries. It is important to preserve the articular cartilage to lower the rate of osteoarthritis.
Though in the past, efforts have been made to procure cells from the patient’s knee, culture them in vitro and transplant them back in the knee. But this required 2 surgeries of the knee and was more invasive.
In 10 adult patients with injured knees, nasal cells were implanted into the damaged knee. A 2 year follow up MRI showed a good success rate with new cartilage growth in their knee. 9 out of 10 patients reported improvement in pain, knee mobility and overall quality of life. 1 Patient was excluded due to multiple other sports injuries.
For this procedure, a small sample of nasal cartilage was obtained under local anaesthesia. These cells were cultured and grown externally for 2 weeks. And subsequently was used to replace the damaged cartilage. Post the repair, the patient is advised use of crutches for about 6 to 8 weeks.
Though this technique seems very promising for the future, a lot more research is needed before this can be widely available for benefit of a large majority of patients. The long term clinical effect needs to be studied in a large number of patients