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Knee joint technique helpful in shoulder joint treatment

Pune: The latest method of regenerating natural cartilage for a severely affected knee joint, called ACI, can also be successfully used to permanently repair a shoulder joint, a city surgeon has claimed.

Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI), a procedure extensively performed for knee joint, was undertaken for shoulder joint for the first time in India to treat a 20-year- old badminton player here who had met with an accident.

Kunal, the patient who went in for a routine shoulder implant, developed more complications as his right shoulder cartilage further deteriorated resulting in pain and stiffness. He approached Ashish Babhulkar, a shoulder specialist who recommended that he immediately remove the implant and instead undergo ACI to save the joint.

"Kunal had a defect size of 6.6 mm on his right shoulder. We undertook a biopsy, a small piece of healthy cartilage tissue was harvested and sent to a cell processing centre for chondrocyte culture for four weeks.

"These cultured cells were implanted back into the defect site. The implantation has been successful and in six to eight weeks of post operative rehabilitation, the patient will regain his full range of motion and function," Babhulkar, who performed the surgery, said at a media presentation.

Elaborating on the method, he said ACI, a two-step minimally invasive procedure, ensures the natural and permanent repair forming new "hyaline like" cartilage.

"This treatment has been extensively performed for knee joint, but was never undertaken ever for shoulder joint in India," claimed Babhulkar, a member of Indian Arthroscopy Society and Asian Federation of Sports Medicine.

"The advent of ACI as treatment for cartilage and joint defects can be attributed mainly to increased awareness among both doctors and patients and also to the reduced cost of due to the availability of cell culturing in India itself."

Describing ACI as the "optimal treatment" for cartilage defects, he said it was ideally suited for young adults as it addressed the root cause of the problem.

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