Rehab Protocol after Cartilage Repair Surgery




At the early stage of osteoarthritis, cartilage lesions can be repaired surgically, such as by microfracture surgery or regenerative medicine based techniques. Post-surgical rehabilitation is critical for the quality of new tissue and patient outcome, but the rehab protocol remains a heavily debated topic. Partial weight bearing on the operated knee are started from 0 to 8 weeks after surgery and could last for another 1-8 weeks before full weight bearing and return to sports. Such a wide divergence in practice is mainly due to the lack of scientific evidence to guide the design of rehabilitation progressions. In this project, we build a novel research strategy by which the microfracture procedure and post-surgical rehabilitation can be simulated on cartilage-bone allografts. Knee loading profiles during partial weight bearing and joint motion are extracted from physical therapy studies and input into a 3D FEM knee joint model. Outcome from the FEM simulation are employed to guide the mechanical loading on cartilage-bone explants during culture. We are now testing the safety and feasibility of a criterion based rehabilitation progression in human subjects after microfracture surgery of the femoral condyle.
Overall research strategy.

Passive motion simulated using an FEM Knee joint model (based on open knee model)