Postoperative rehabilitation programs following articular cartilage repair procedures will vary greatly among patients and need to be individualized based on the nature of the lesion, the unique characteristics of the patient, and the type and detail of each surgical procedure. These programs are based on knowledge of the basic science, anatomy, and biomechanics of articular cartilage as well as the biological course of healing following surgery. The goal is to restore full function in each patient as quickly as possible by facilitating a healing response without overloading the healing articular cartilage.
The purpose of this paper is to overview the principles of rehabilitation following articular cartilage repair procedures. Furthermore, specific rehabilitation guidelines for debridement, abrasion chondroplasty, microfracture, osteochondral autograft transplantation, and autologous chondrocyte implantation will be presented based upon our current understanding of the biological healing response postoperatively.
J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2006; 36(10):774-794. doi:10.2519/jospt.2006.2228
Key Words: autologous chondrocyte implantation, chondroplasty, microfracture, osteochondral autograft transplantation