Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) is a surgical procedure involving the implantation of a person's own - but cultured to expand the number - joint cartilage cells back into their own body behind a membrane.
The two-stage procedure of ACI
If there is a fairly substantial area of joint surface damage in the knee, the cartilage repair surgeon may elect to to harvest some healthy cartilage from a less important area and send the sample to a laboratory for culture (where they are multiplied and make many cells), and then return them for implantation into the damaged area to grow into healthy cartilage.
|In one operation (eg arthroscopy) a bit of healthy cartilage is removed|
|The matrix is broken down in the laboratory and the chondrocytes (cartilage cells) are multiplied.||The defect is cleaned up and then the chondrocytes are then injected behind a membrane that is sewn onto the defect|
Applications of Chondrocyte-Based Cartilage Engineering: An Overview Phul A-R ,Eo S-H, Abbas Q, Ahmed M and Kim SJ. Biomed Res Int. 2016; 2016: 1879837.
Cell-based tissue engineering strategies used in the clinical repair of articular cartilage. Huang BJ, Hu JC and Athanasiou KA. Biomaterials. 2016 Aug; 98: 1–22.