Microfracture Knee Alternatives: RIP Knee Microfracture?

By /

Knee microfracture surgery is a common method used for cartilage repair. But does it work? A recent study says that microfracture knee alternatives should be used because the procedure is ineffective and should be abandoned.

Knee microfracture is used for potholes in the cartilage. The theory is that poking or drilling small holes in the bone inside a cartilage lesion should release bone marrow stem cells and stimulate cartilage healing. About 650,000 of these “repairative” knee procedures are performed each year. But does this common orthopedic knee procedure work? Well, nobody really knows with anything approaching high levels of evidence. I’ve blogged before that if anything, the existing research shows that knee microfracture outcomes are underwhelming.

The new study in the journal Arthroscopy continues the doubts over microfracture by suggesting that the procedure should be abandoned. In particular, the new paper looked at many different studies that have been performed on microfracture and concluded:

1. Multiple authors have promoted these procedures as “helpful,” but others have confirmed only short-term relief with destruction of the subchondral surface. Huh? The last bit means that poking of holes destroys the area beneath the cartilage. We’ve seen our share of these cases, with an MRI years later still showing an irregular chewed up bone surface from the surgery.

2. Proponents do not compare their marrow stimulation results to a control group that had debridement alone. Meaning microfracture hasn’t been tested versus just “cleaning out the knee (debridement)” to see if it works any better than that common surgery (which has been shown in a big study not to work)A recent study confirmed that microfracture (MF) is equivalent to debridement and does not affect the subchondral bone.

The upshot? This author from the University of Minnesota believes that it’s time to retire microfracture surgery. He certainly brings up some valid points about how little we know about whether this invasive surgery is effective. We’ve also witnessed the destruction of the bone surface that this procedure can cause.

Learn about Regenexx procedures for knee conditions.

If you have questions or comments about this blog post, please email us at [email protected]

NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.

Get Blog Updates by Email

By submitting the form, you are agreeing that you read and consent to our Privacy Policy. We may also contact you via email, phone, and other electronic means to communicate information about our products and services. We do not sell, or share your information to third party vendors.

Category: Knee, Latest News
Copyright © Regenexx 2021. All rights reserved.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Address

9035 Wadsworth Pkwy #1000
Westminster, CO 80021

Phone

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.

LinkedIn
Email
TO TOP