Microfracture is a surgical procedure used for cartilage restoration. Cartilage restoration is a surgical procedure where orthopedic surgeons stimulate the growth of new cartilage tissue and restore normal function. Cartilage restoration procedures help in delaying or preventing the development of arthritis.
Articular Cartilage is the white tissue lining the end of bones where these bones connect to form joints. Cartilage acts as a cushioning material and helps in the smooth gliding of bones during movement. An injury to the joint may damage this cartilage which cannot be repaired on its own.
Several techniques are employed for cartilage restoration, including microfracture, drilling, abrasion arthroplasty, osteochondral autograft, and allograft transplantation.
The microfracture technique involves drilling multiple holes into the subchondral bone located below the cartilage using a sharp tool called an awl. These holes create a new blood supply, provoking a healing response. The blood reaching this place will bring in new cells and stimulate the formation of new articular cartilage tissue. The procedure is done arthroscopically. Young patients with single lesions, lesion of area <1.5 cm, and healthy bone are suitable candidates for this procedure.