The Future of Cartilage Repair

  • Damir Hudetz
  • Željko Jeleč
  • Eduard Rod
  • Igor Borić
  • Mihovil Plečko
  • Dragan Primorac
Part of the Europeanization and Globalization book series (EAG, volume 5)


Articular cartilage is a hyaline cartilage 2–4 mm thick. It is composed of 95% of dense extracellular matrix (ECM) and 5% of highly specialized cells called chondrocytes. Because of its avascular, aneural and alymphatic state, it has a limited repair potential. Articular cartilages’ main function is to provide smooth, lubricated surface for low friction articulation while minimizing the stress and strains on the matrix. Articular cartilage could be damaged by normal wear and tear or injury and it can cause severe pain, inflammation and some degree of disability. Its management consist of pharmacological (acetaminophen, NSAID, salicylate, selective COX-2 inhibitors or opioids) and non-pharmacological therapies. Non-pharmacological treatment includes physical therapy and decreasing the load in the joint by modifying patient’s habits. A new class of agents (symptomatic or disease modifying osteoarthritic drugs (S/DMOADs) including glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate is receiving wide publicity. At the same time, numerous published reports advising the use of hyaluronic acid injections: viscosupplementation in patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis. Operative treatment includes different surgical debridement and microfracture techniques, osteochondral autograft transfers, osteochondral allograft transplantation, etc. New techniques and concepts are being developed not only to treat damaged or diseased joint cartilage but also to find ways of achieving regeneration to normal cartilage that will give long-lasting improvements and allow patients to return to a fully active lifestyle. Nevertheless, as two stage procedures involving cell culture are expensive and cumbersome, there is an increasing push towards a single stage stem cell treatment. Currently, there are a number of new methods with cartilage repair aim, including autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI), matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation (MACI), intra-articular administration of autologous microfragmented fat tissue with Ad-MSCs, etc. In this chapter, we discuss some current treatments and the emerging strategies/techniques employed by researchers and physicians thriving to repair articular cartilage through biological means.


Articular cartilage Osteoarthritis Pharmacological treatment Viscosupplementation Microfractures Cell-based therapy for cartilage Osteochondral grafts 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Damir Hudetz
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Željko Jeleč
    • 1
    • 3
  • Eduard Rod
    • 1
    • 3
  • Igor Borić
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Mihovil Plečko
    • 1
  • Dragan Primorac
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
  1. 1.St. Catherine Specialty HospitalZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Clinical Hospital “Sveti Duh”ZagrebCroatia
  3. 3.School of Medicine, JJ Strossmayer University of OsijekOsijekCroatia
  4. 4.School of Medicine, University of SplitSplitCroatia
  5. 5.School of Medicine, University of RijekaRijekaCroatia
  6. 6.Gen-InfoZagrebCroatia
  7. 7.Children’s Hospital SrebrnjakZagrebCroatia
  8. 8.Eberly College of Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University ParkState CollegeUSA
  9. 9.The Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic SciencesUniversity of New HavenWest HavenUSA

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