Center for Cartilage Regeneration, Orthobiology and Joint Preservation
The aim of any joint disease treatment at the Döbling Cartilage Center is to preserve your own joint for as long as possible and to enable you to live an active and pain-free life. Since cartilage is not supplied with blood, it cannot regenerate. Especially in younger patients, for whom a joint prosthesis is not a desirable option, modern methods of cartilage regeneration offer the possibility of restoring articular cartilage.
In 2001, Prof. Marlovits performed the first cell transplantation for cartilage regeneration. Initially, this required two operations and cooperation with external special laboratories, and the costs were very high. In the meantime, new methods have been developed – such as the AutoCartTM method.
Prof. Marlovits - what does AutoCartTM mean?
AutoCart stands for All Autologous Cartilage Regeneration, which means that only the body's own materials are used for this method of treating major cartilage damage.
What is the advantage of the AutoCartTM method?
The AutoCart method offers many advantages - we work with autologous material and can usually operate minimally invasive - i.e. arthroscopically. The operation is very gentle and can also be performed on older patients.
Unlike other methods, a single operation is sufficient. With the AutoCart method, cartilage is removed during the operation, crushed, enriched with the body's own platelet-rich plasma and then directly injected back into the defective cartilage. This surgical technique is not only gentle and very well tolerated due to the use of only the body's own material, it is also inexpensive. It can be performed under both general and regional anesthesia.
For which indications is this method best suited?
The method is particularly suitable for the knee joint, the ankle joint and smaller joints such as the thumb joint, both in
- traumatic defects and
- degenerative diseases such as arthroses up to grade III - grade III means that the cartilage already has cracks or craters reaching down to the bone and the pain is significantly reduced) as well as with
- osteochondritis dissecans (bone necrosis below the cartilage).
How can traumatic and degenerative changes in hip cartilage be treated?
Cartilage regeneration with fat stem cells has proven very effective for hip joints. Stem cells are obtained from the fat tissue of the abdominal skin, whereby the fat tissue is mechanically crushed and centrifuged several times. The concentrate obtained from this is then injected into the joint.
How long is the average hospital stay and what happens after AutoCart TM surgery?
A three-day hospital stay is usually to be expected. After the operation you should walk on crutches for 6 weeks. 10 to 12 days after the operation, the sutures are removed, which can also be done by the family doctor.
We provide each patient with a treatment regimen for three months. Of course, the physiotherapy can also take place at the patient’s place of residence, if necessary there is the possibility to coordinate with the therapists via video conference. Motor splints and magnetic field devices have also proven themselves in rehabilitation.
When should the follow-up examination be carried out?
A check should take place after about three to six months. To do this, we use special MRI protocols in order to be able to precisely determine the result of the intervention.
For the follow-up, we use the SOS system (“Surgical Outcome System”), in which the patients – if he wishes – is contacted by email and a questionnaire is used to ask how he is doing. This internationally established system works with validated scores, is intended to give the patient security and is used for quality assurance.
The "Center for Cartilage Regeneration, Orthobiology and Joint Preservation" of the Döbling Private Hospital is the only center in Austria to take part in a multi-center study on the autologous treatment of cartilage damage in the knee joint, in which other centers from Europe and the Middle East are also involved.
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