Subchondroplasty refers to a minimally invasive surgical procedure that treats subchondral defects that arise from chronic bone marrow edema. Chronic bone marrow edema (BME) is a condition that results when excess fluid builds up in the bone marrow and causes swelling. This disease can cause micro fractures and defects in the bone. Subchondroplasty is designed to treat these issues.
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What is Subchondroplasty?
Bone marrow edema is a type of swelling in the soft bone just beneath the surface of the joints. The result of BME is often reduced mobility and chronic pain. Because the lesions that develop from BME will not heal on their own, treatment is required. If they are not treated, lesions of bone marrow can lead to osteoarthritis and further joint degeneration.
Subchondroplasty is a treatment for lesions associated with from bone marrow edema. It involves a surgical procedure done under anesthesia. During subchondroplasty, the surgeon makes incisions in the joint. He or she then uses an imaging device to locate where the joint damage has taken place. Once this is established, a biomimetic bone substitute material made of calcium phosphate is injected into the damaged area with a needle.
This procedure usually takes less than an hour, although this can vary, depending on the amount of damage that has taken place. Recovery time for subchondroplasty is typically much less than a joint replacement – about six weeks, rather than four to six months.
See this youtube link for footage of a subchondroplasty video YouTube.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the risk factors for bone marrow edema?
A: BME is typically caused by injury to the bone.
Q: Who is a good candidate for subchondroplasty?
A: The best way to determine if you’re a good candidate for subchondroplasty is to talk to an orthopedic sports medicine surgeon. Dr. Meier is an expert in subchondroplasty and related joint surgeries. You can contact him today to set up an appointment and determine if subchondroplasty is right for you.
Q: What is subchondroplasty recovery like?
A: For the first couple days after the subchondroplasty procedure, patients often experience some discomfort and pain. If necessary, Dr. Meier will provide medication to minimize this pain. For the next couple weeks, patients will use crutches and maintain reduced weight bearing on the joint. After this, the need for crutches will be scaled back as much as the patient is able to tolerate.
Q: Is it possible to have a total knee replacement after subchondroplasty?
A: Yes, it is still possible to have a total knee replacement after subchondroplasty. Subchondroplasty does not affect the ability of patients to have a total knee replacement in the future.
Q: What are the risks of subchondroplasty?
A: As with any surgical procedure, subchondroplasty involves a certain level of risk. The best way to determine if you are a good candidate for this minimally invasive procedure is to talk to a qualified orthopedic surgeon.
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Contact a Los Angeles Orthopedic Surgeon
Are you looking for the latest in orthopedic services and sports medicine? Dr. Steven W. Meier is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and expert in a broad variety of surgical techniques. To learn more about Dr. Meier or to schedule a consultation with, contact our office today.
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