You probably don’t spend much time throughout the course of an average day considering the important role that chondrocytes play in your life. In fact, you may be reading this, wondering what a chondrocyte even is (they are a type of cell in the human body). The truth is, though, that if you’re like many of the local patients who come to us with cartilage injuries in Wilmington, then you might know more about these special cells than you think you do!
Whereas skin is formed by fibroblasts, which are cells that multiply rapidly, articular cartilage is made up of slowly dividing cells called chondrocytes. If you’ve suffered a cartilage injury in one of your joints, your everyday life is probably being significantly impacted by the fact that these cells do not heal well and may require surgery to repair.
Diagnosis & Treatment Options
Patients with cartilage injuries in Wilmington are seen on a regular basis by the orthopaedic specialists at Rothman Institute. When a patient comes in to one of our local offices, such as the nearby facilities in Media, PA or Newtown Square, PA, they will be evaluated by:
Since cartilage does not contain calcium, cartilage injuries will not appear in x-rays. However, when cartilage is injured, there are often additional injuries to surrounding bones or ligaments. Taking our patients through this three step assessment process allows our physicians to observe the full extent of any present injuries and then decide on the best possible approach for treatment. In some cases, arthroscopy is also utilized before the physician can make a complete diagnosis.
Before a surgical approach is recommended, physicians who treat cartilage injuries in Wilmington will often recommend non-operative treatments. If a combination of rest, ice, elevation and over-the-counter pain medications do not reduce the pain and swelling, the patient may also try cortisone injections. But for younger patients who need a more permanent treatment approach, but who also want to avoid the need for total joint replacement, there are a few options.
Talk to a physician at Rothman Institute about whether a cartilage restoration procedure, such as an Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation or a Osteochondral Transplant, may be the right approach for you.
Knowing When to Call About Cartilage Injuries in Wilmington
Injuries to the articular cartilage can cause pain and swelling or even mechanical symptoms such as the locking of a joint due to loose bodies. Any joint swelling that is present for more than one day following the injury is cause for concern. Call us at 1-800-321-9999 to set up an appointment with a Rothman Institute physician.