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Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI)


  Medically reviewed by board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Nic Gay, MD and Dr. Kerisimasi Reynolds, MD

Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI) Joint Preservation Treatment

The joints perform very important and active functions in the body. Like with any moving parts, wear and tear will eventually occur. However, there are also a number of factors that may speed up this process, including injury, disease and genetic abnormalities.

Cartilage does not have the ability to repair on its own, which means that progressive wear and tear can lead to conditions like arthritis. Without joint preservation treatment, patients may face the prospect of joint replacement surgery. To help our patients avoid unnecessary and invasive treatments, Silicon Valley Orthopaedics offers joint preservation options including autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI).

The cells in the cartilage that can reproduce are known as chondrocytes. However, this process does not occur naturally. Intervention is needed to replace chondrocytes so that cartilage is rejuvenated. The procedure is most commonly associated with the knee joint and is an FDA-approved treatment available from Silicon Valley Orthopaedics in California.

ACI Procedure

ACI involves two stages where cells are first taken from the patient’s own cartilage and then used to repair damage. It is not possible to implant chondrocytes immediately after harvesting, without first creating a culture at a laboratory. This process typically takes a number of weeks to complete.

A membrane is then applied to the damaged area, holding the cultured chondrocytes in place. As the implanted cells mature, new cartilage is created to effectively repair damage. Although this joint preservation treatment is more commonly associated with the knee joint, the same principle applies to other joints where cartilage damage would benefit from an ACI procedure.

If you are interested in learning more about autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) and other joint preservation treatments at Silicon Valley Orthopaedics, contact our office today to book a consultation. Dr. Nic Gay and Dr. Masi Reynolds are committed to providing effective and affordable orthopedic care in California.

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