The Success Rate of the MACI Procedure

MACI is a game-changer in the orthopedic world. It is less invasive and has better outcomes than other orthopedic surgeries for knee pain. After the procedure, there is less downtime required than for other interventions for similar conditions.

The Success Rate is 80-85%

That’s a high rate of success. Not many other procedures can claim a rate of favorable outcomes close to that. A higher success rate was confirmed in a study that followed up on patients who underwent this procedure after both 2 and 5 years when compared with the previous gold standard method of treating cartilage damage, microfracture.

Why is the Success Rate so High?

A key factor for the high MACI success rate is the use of stem cells from your own knee. This helps to eliminate the chance of negative reactions from your body to the MACI implant.

When surgically implanting something into the body, rejection is always a concern. The MACI implant is made of your own cells, lessening the chance of rejection by the body.

Damaged cartilage needs help and encouragement to heal, it won’t fix itself on its own. By itself, mature cartilage has a low capability for regeneration. After retrieval from your knee, chondrocyte cells, which are responsible for the formation of cartilage, are shipped to a lab where they get the help they need to reproduce.

At the lab, the cells receive special treatment consisting of a proprietary method that involves uniform placement of the cells on a collagen membrane which produces matrix proteins. These proteins are the foundation of articular cartilage. New cartilage is grown from these proteins and would not be synthesized by itself.

As previously mentioned, a procedure called microfracture was the go-to treatment for knee cartilage damage before MACI. Microfracture is a procedure involving poking multiple holes in the bone. These holes let bone marrow cells enter the joint and as everything heals, those cells form a layer over the damaged cartilage. There are several problems with this procedure, however. First, a microfracture is not suitable for every patient, and second, the new cartilage formed is not as firm or as strong as the original tissue.

The MACI implant is very strong, very flexible, and can be cut to fit exactly the shape and size of the damaged cartilage to replace it or cover it. The MACI Procedure is an option to treat cartilage defects of any size or shape in the knee. If needed and depending on the size and location of the original cartilaginous damage, multiple implants can be used. Also, the MACI implant is designed to be very pliable, which results in a decreased feeling that a foreign object in the knee.

Is MACI Right for You?

At this time, the safety and efficacy of the MACI Procedure are indicated only for patients 18-55 years of age.

Some contraindications exist pertinent to having this procedure. These are:

  • Severe osteoarthritis of the knee or other severe inflammatory conditions
  • Infections in the joint or other surrounding tissue
  • Blood clotting conditions
  • Knee surgery in the past 6 months, not including surgery for obtaining a sample of cartilage biopsy purposes.
  • Positively knowing that you will not be unable to follow the prescribed post-operative rehabilitation program.

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