Specialist KNEE + HIP Surgeon

Chondral Grafting

Knee Icon

Chondral Grafting

This is a relatively new technique where one can grow cartilage cells, then transplant these cells back in to defects in the knee which then regrows into cartilage to heal the defects

In the past there has been a variety of methods used in an attempt to repair cartilage defects, most of which have been unsatisfactory. Chondral grafting is a simple procedure which heals the defect with cartilage very similar to the normal cartilage of the knee. If these defects are not treated they often proceed to severe arthritis and all of its problems.

Surgery Procedure

Chondral fracture process

Surgical Techniques

  1. Biopsy of articular cartilage, at arthroscopy
  2. Cartilage cells from biopsy grown in laboratory
  3. Cartilage cells implanted in a fine mesh
  4. At second operation, mesh with the cartilage cells are glued into defect in knee

Post-operative Care and Rehabilitation

Chondral surgery 2
Chondral Surgery 1

The rehabilitation process extends over several months and is controlled by a physiotherapist.

  • Brace for 8-9 weeks
  • Non weight-bearing for 6-9 weeks
  • Gentle mobilisation of knee joint in the brace and monitored by the physio
  • Start weight-bearing 8-12 weeks
  • Return to normal activities 6 months
  • Return to sport 12 months

What Types of Cartilage Defects can be Treated with Chondral Grafts

  • Localised defects, usually due to trauma in what was previously a normal knee
  • Age 15-45 years


  • Arthritis – not appropriate in any form of arthritis
  • Unstable knees
  • Knees that have had meniscus removed
  • Over-weight patients