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Using the least invasive techniques…
Providing the best outcomes.

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Microfracture is a surgical procedure performed to promote the healing of damaged cartilage with the use of stem cells (progenitor cells of the body). It is considered the best procedure to treat cartilage injuries less than ½ inch or 15 mm. Microfracture is widely used to treat hip and knee injuries.


Microfracture may be indicated for the following:

  • Cartilage lesions
  • Young patients who have a single injury and healthy subchondral bone (bone underlying the articular cartilage)


The microfracture technique is usually performed as an arthroscopic procedure (arthroscope is an instrument consisting of a small camera to view the area of injury) under local, spinal or general anaesthesia. Three small incisions are made to insert the arthroscope and other instruments. Any loose or unstable cartilage is removed. Your surgeon will insert a sharp tool known as an awl to make several holes on the surface of the ankle joint. These holes penetrate into the subchondral bone and open up new blood supply to the area. This new blood supply from within the bone marrow, supplies the damaged joint surface with new stem cells to form fibrocartilage, which fills the damaged area and promotes the formation of new tissue. The incisions will then be covered.

Postoperative care

Following the procedure, rehabilitation is critical for the success of the surgery. Your physical therapist will teach you exercises during the rehabilitation programme to regain muscle strength, promote healing and gain normal range of motion of the ankle joint.

You can apply ice or ice packs over the ankle to reduce swelling. Whenever possible, elevate your leg higher than the level of your chest to minimse swelling. Your dressing will be removed in 3 days. You can get the incisions wet in the shower, but avoid submerging the wound in the pool or tub. A splint may be applied for the first 3 days after the surgery and you will have to use crutches regularly for the first 4 weeks to avoid bearing weight on the operated foot.

You may be prescribed medication for relieving pain. Avoid driving until you have been advised to do so by your doctor. Consult your doctor immediately if you experience fever, shortness of breath, sudden pain or other unexpected symptoms.

Risks and complications

As with any procedure, microfracture involves some of the following risks and complications:

  • Bleeding
  • Infections
  • Blood clots
  • The newly formed cartilage is not as strong as the body’s original cartilage, and thus, there is a risk of it breaking overtime.
Click on the topics below to find out more from the orthopedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
FAORTHA FRACSInternational Society for Hip Arthroscopy


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