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Knee Cartilage Injury

Meniscus Tear

One of the most common injuries in the knee involves tearing of the meniscus. The meniscus is a thick, rubbery “shock absorber” made of fibrocartilage, which is a different type of cartilage than the articular cartilage that lines the ends of the bones. Tears of the meniscus can happen suddenly, from a fall or accident, or from a sports injury. Sometimes the meniscus may heal on its own. In younger patients, the meniscus can sometimes be repaired if the tear has a good blood supply. In older patients, however, a tear of the meniscus usually requires a partial meniscectomy – a surgical procedure in which the torn part of the meniscus is removed from the knee using special arthroscopic instruments and a minimally-invasive approach. Arthroscopic surgery is the most common procedure that Dr. Bushnell performs in the knee.

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Chondral Defect

The ends of the bones in the knee are covered with smooth articular cartilage, which is different from the fibrocartilage of the meniscus. This cartilage can be injured and develop a chondral defect. A chondral defect must be diagnosed by an MRI, and the thighbone (the femur) is the most common site of injury. These defects are essentially “holes” in the cartilage, and can be a major source of pain and disability. These holes can be “patched” using a surgical technique known as microfracture. Dr. Bushnell trained at the Denver branch of the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Colorado – the institution where the microfracture technique was invented by Dr. Richard Steadman.

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