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Success Stories

“Going in, I was freaked out, and my mom was emotional. Dr. Leetun was great
about answering all our questions and easing our nerves. The therapists pushed
me throughout the process and were a great support system.”

-Sydney Boike of Crookston, Minnesota

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Cartilage Restoration

If nagging joint pain is getting in the way of your active life, it might be time to visit Altru Advanced Orthopedics. Our providers offer a range of individualized treatment options.

For some, the solution might be cartilage restoration. Are you living with consistent knee pain? This innovative procedure offers a minimally invasive option to help you return to a more active life. Cartilage restoration repairs the articular cartilage, a firm, rubbery material that covers the ends of bones in the knee. If this cartilage is worn or damaged, it can limit mobility and cause pain. Restoring the cartilage can help to improve athletic performance, relieve pain and slow the progression of further cartilage damage.

Altru’s orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Darin Leetun, specializes in this advanced procedure. Depending on the health of your joint and cartilage, alternative treatment options may be recommended. For some, physical therapy, strengthening exercises and proper footwear can reduce pain. If the damage is more severe, knee replacement might be recommended.

Benefits may include:

  • Delayed need for joint replacement
  • Re-establishment of pre-injury activity level
  • Slower progression of cartilage damage

Who Is a candidate?

Cartilage restoration is often used to delay a full joint replacement, as the life of a new joint is around 15-20 years. So, for those ages 20-50, cartilage restoration can get you back to an active life without joint replacement. Older adults with minimal damage may also be a fit.

Other determining factors include:

  • Those who have suffered an injury or trauma, including athletes
  • Repetitive wearing use of the joint
  • Those with active lifestyles, which can cause wear and tear
  • Abnormalities from birth, or hormonal disorders that cause joint development issues

Procedure and Recovery

Cartilage restoration procedures are done at Altru Specialty Center, Altru’s advanced orthopedic hospital. Most procedures to restore articular cartilage are done arthroscopically. During arthroscopy, Dr. Leetun makes three small puncture incisions around your joint using an arthroscope. This is less invasive than open surgery, which can mean quicker recovery with less pain.

You can expect to stay overnight at Altru Specialty Center as part of your recovery. Dedicated physical therapists are on-site to assist with initial recovery exercises. Follow-up physical therapy may also be needed. You can expect to be on crutches or with other mobility assistance for 6-8 weeks as the joint heals. Once your doctor determines that you are fully recovered, you can expect to return to pre-injury activity levels.

If you are experiencing knee pain, schedule an appointment by calling 701.732.7700 or through MyHealth.

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