The MACI Journey: A Patient's Experience from Diagnosis to Recovery

You may have heard about the revolutionary MACI Procedure for knee pain and want to know what it would be like to have it. We want to help with that curiosity. Read below to learn about the procedure, who it’s appropriate for, and hear from a satisfied patient.

What is MACI?

MACI (Matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation) is a specialized treatment for knee pain that not all orthopedic surgeons offer as you must be specially trained to perform this procedure.

It is a stem cell therapy meant for knee pain indicated for cartilage defects in the knee. Cartilage damage is the cause of most knee complaints. The stem cells used in this procedure are autologous - meaning cells from your own body that are targeted for cartilage repair.

The MACI procedure involves a 2-step process, the first of which consists of harvesting a sample of chondrocytes from your knee. These are the stem cells - chondrocytes are precursor cells that grow into cartilage. The sample extracted from a non-weight-bearing position of your knee is done arthroscopically.

Arthroscopic procedures are short, simple, and painless. Your surgeon will make a very small incision in your knee into which a tiny camera on a thin tube is inserted into your knee. The camera functions as a guide for your surgeon as it displays an internal image onto a monitor.

Once extracted, we ship these cells to a dedicated MACI lab. Here they are implanted onto a collagen matrix bed and specially treated to encourage growth of the chondrocytes into new cartilage. After about a month, the new cartilage can function on its own and your MACI implant is created.

Now you will be ready to undergo the second phase of the procedure. This step involves surgically implanting your MACI implant over or in place of the area of damaged cartilage. The implant is quite flexible and strong. It can be trimmed to an exact fit needed for cartilage repair, whether by covering or replacing the damage.

Your surgeon uses a fibrin sealant to affix the implant in place which makes sutures unnecessary. The new cartilage from the MACI implant absorbs into your tissue.

Meet Abby

One of many patient testimonials on the MACI website is Abby whose story will probably be relatable to many people reading this. Abby was a college athlete who participated in competitive sports for most of her life.

Suddenly, she found herself sidelined with knee pain but determined to get back in the game. She and her doctor decided that MACI would be the best option for her. After completing rehab after the surgery with the same focus and determination she always gave to her athletic endeavors, she was back to participating in all her most beloved activities.

She states “MACI impacted me in a lot of ways. By resolving my knee pain, it brought me back to doing what I love; running, biking, and just being active with my family and friends.”

Is MACI right for you?

MACI is right for nearly anyone within a certain age range. That range is 18-55 years old. The safety and efficacy of MACI have not yet been verified for patients outside this span.

When your doctor determines that cartilage damage is the cause of your knee pain you are likely a suitable candidate for the MACI Procedure. And the versatile nature of the MACI implant allows multiple areas to be treated at the same time, if needed. This list below encompasses common areas of knee injury that were historically difficult to treat but, thanks to MACI, are now easily treatable. These include:

  • Lateral femoral condyle
  • Medial femoral condyle with or without bone involvement
  • Patella - may be felt as kneecap pain.
  • Trochlea

Contact Us

Consider MACI with Dr. Burke, you will not be disappointed. Schedule a consultation with us at DR. Burke Orthopedics in Pearland, TX by calling (713) 436-3488.

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Disclaimer: Please note all medical information contained within this website should never be interpreted as a diagnosis or recommendation of treatment. If a diagnosis is needed, contact Dr. Burke Orthopedics for a personalized consultation. Information shared in testimonials and reviews are specific to that particular patient and may not be representative of the experience of others.

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