Matrix-Induced Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (MACI) is a surgical procedure used to treat cartilage defects in the knee. It is a type of autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) that involves the use of a collagen membrane to hold the patient's own cartilage cells in place, allowing them to grow into new cartilage.
The MACI procedure involves several steps. Firstly, healthy cartilage cells are removed from a non-weight-bearing area of the patient's knee joint through arthroscopic surgery. These cells are then grown in a laboratory over a period of several weeks, during which time they multiply and form a tissue-engineered patch.
Once the patch has been created, a second surgical procedure is performed to implant it into the patient's knee joint. During this procedure, the damaged area of cartilage is removed and the patch is placed over the defect. The patch is secured in place with a type of surgical glue, and then covered with a protective layer of tissue.
After the surgery, the patient is usually placed in a brace for 2-4 weeks to protect the knee joint while the new cartilage grows. Physical therapy is also recommended to help improve range of motion and strength in the knee.
MACI has several advantages over other knee cartilage repair procedures. It allows for a larger area of cartilage defect to be treated, and can produce more natural-looking cartilage than other techniques. Additionally, because the patch is made from the patient's own cells, there is a lower risk of rejection or infection.
However, MACI is a complex and relatively new procedure, and there are some risks involved. These include infection, bleeding, and problems with the patch, such as it not integrating properly or becoming dislodged.
In conclusion, Matrix-Induced Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (MACI) is a promising technique for treating cartilage defects in the knee. While it is a complex procedure and requires a significant recovery period, it can provide effective and long-lasting relief for patients with cartilage damage. As with any surgical procedure, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits with a qualified orthopedic surgeon to determine the best treatment plan for your specific situation.