The rehabilitation process is crucial to optimize the healing of the joint surface. Essentially the program involves a balance between loading the new surface enough to stimulate development of the new surface and avoiding overloading which will damage the growth. Rather like seeding a new lawn it is important to avoid walking on it too soon yet it should be rolled to keep it smooth. To quote the originator Dr Steadman in USA, – ‘when the ideal physical environment is combined with the ideal chemical environment produced by the marrow clot, a repair cartilage can develop that fills the original defect’.
The procedure is usually performed as a day case and carried out at the same time as an ordinary arthroscopy of the knee. There is no extra incision. On return from theatre there is a padded bandage applied to the leg. This bandage is removed on the day following surgery.
The specific program depends on the site of the repaired defect, its size and whether any other surgery was performed at the same time, such as ligament reconstruction.