GULF BREEZE — Millions of people each year damage their knee cartilage, causing pain and restricting mobility.

Dr. Juliet DeCampos, an orthopaedic surgeon at Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, recently started using a new treatment option for cartilage damage that involves regrowing the patient's own cartilage cells in a laboratory and then implanting them to repair the defect.

"We have the opportunity to provide leading-edge treatment options for patients because of our commitment to education and clinical research as modeled by Dr. James Andrews," DeCampos said. "It is my goal as an Andrews Institute sports medicine orthopaedic surgeon to use research evidence from our professional societies and journals to provide our patients and community with the newest, safe and beneficial surgeries to keep them able to move through life."

The procedure, known as autologous chondrocyte implantation, repairs damaged articular cartilage defects with the use of a patient's cartilage cells. Andrews Institute is among the first centers in the U.S. to offer treatment for cartilage defects with the use of autologous cultured chondrocytes on a porcine collagen membrane.

In December 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of autologous cultured chondrocytes on porcine collagen membrane for the repair of symptomatic, full-thickness cartilage defects of the knee in adult patients. This procedure is the first FDA-approved product that applies the process of tissue engineering to grow cells on scaffolds using healthy cartilage tissue from the patient’s own knee.

With this new procedure, patients can use their body cells to help mend their knee and help them return to a more active lifestyle.

Visit AndrewsInstitute.com or call 916-8700 to learn more about this procedure or to schedule an appointment with DeCampos.