As anyone who experiences it will tell you, chronic knee pain can have a serious impact on your ability to enjoy simple everyday activities, including standing and walking. Exercise, sports, repetitive movements and trauma, such as falls, can damage the cartilage in our knees, leading to symptoms including pain, swelling, clicking and locking. 

Unfortunately, our cartilage doesn’t heal on its own and the current options for treatment, short of a total knee replacement, tend to offer short term solutions for pain relief.

Mercy Health Physicians and orthopedic surgeons Mahmoud Almasri, MD and Brian Chilelli, MD are the first in the region to offer a minimally invasive procedure using a MACI (matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation) product. This procedure, which they perform through small incisions using a camera, can provide lasting relief for patients experiencing chronic knee pain due to cartilage damage.

“MACI can benefit patients with isolated cartilage damage under the kneecap or on the ends of the femur or tibia,” says Dr. Almasri. 

“MACI uses a patient’s own cells to create a durable repair tissue for knee cartilage, reducing a patient’s pain, improving their knee function and providing results that last years,” says Dr. Chilelli.

Doctors performing MACI take a sample of the patient’s cartilage cells and send it to a laboratory. There, the cells are embedded on a special collagen membrane that the doctor then implants into the patient’s knee. 

Historically, the implantation has been routinely performed through an open incision but select cases can now be performed arthroscopically through small incisions with a camera, according to Drs. Chilelli and Almasri. 

Once in the knee, the cartilage cells regenerate, forming a repair tissue that fills the defect in the damaged cartilage.

Because Drs. Almasri and Chilelli perform the MACI cartilage restoration procedure through a minimally invasive procedure, patients tend to experience less pain and scarring and quicker recovery times.  

Following the procedure, patients start a specially designed rehabilitation program that works to help them return to pre-injury recreational activities within six to nine months.

Mercy Health’s team of knee and hip preservation specialists can help qualified patients restore joint function and improve quality of life through less invasive procedures while preserving patients’ native joints.

Drs. Almasri and Chilelli practice from Mercy Health – Orthopedics and Sports Medicine locations in Blue Ash, Eastgate, Fairfield, Oxford and West Chester. For more information on MACI or to make an appointment, please call 513-347-9999.