Maryland’s Health Matters - UMMS - Fall 2015 - (Page 1)

SPOTLIGHT: REPLACEMENT NOT KNEE-DED Cartilage transplants can help patients return to preinjury lifestyles A s a child, Casey Whelan loved to play sports- transplant through University of Mary- especially softball. So she was devastated land Orthopaedics. when she tore the meniscus in her right knee Casey Whelan, pictured here with her husband and daughter, is able to enjoy sports again after a cartilage transplant in her knee. R. Frank Henn, MD, an assistant profes- as a freshman in high school, and then again sor of orthopaedics at the University as a junior. of Maryland School of Medicine and a team physician for the Both times, surgeons arthroscopically repaired her menis- University of Maryland Terrapins, says knee cartilage transplants cus, and she returned to the sport she loved, playing short- can help patients like Whelan regain the lifestyles they had stop and first base. But as a result of her injuries, her knee before their injuries. was never the same. Her cartilage-the smooth, slippery "Commonly these patients have been protective tissue that caps the ends of the knee bones-had told they don't have options, that they'll almost disappeared in one area, and she experienced daily eventually need a knee replacement and and severe pain. will just have to deal with the pain until "When there's no cartilage, the bones start grinding they're older," Dr. Henn says. "When they together," Whelan says. "I was in constant pain." get to me, they're disheartened and then In 2004, surgeons performed what is called an osteo- encouraged simply because we have chondral transfer, transferring bone and cartilage from a healthy part of her knee to the affected area. After the procedure, they told her that for the sake of her knee, she should stop playing softball, take it easy and lead a less strenuous lifestyle. "How do you tell someone who grew up playing sports not to play sports anymore?" she says. "I didn't know if I had any other options." L options for them." R. Frank Henn, MD The goal of cartilage transplantation is to fill an area of cartilage loss in the joint with a shock-absorbing tissue that restores the smooth surface and protects the underlying bone, he says. There are several ways to achieve this. ■ Autologous chondrocyte implantation: Also known as Carticel, this is the "gold standard" of knee cartilage transplants. Surgeons remove a small piece of a patient's own ast year, after a decade of increasing pain and an healthy cartilage, which is then grown in a lab for about six inability to keep up with her then 3-year-old daughter, weeks, going from a few hundred thousand cells to 30 million Whelan found another option: a knee cartilage to 40 million. Next, the cells are reimplanted under a patch,

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maryland’s Health Matters - UMMS - Fall 2015

Maryland’s Health Matters - UMMS - Fall 2015