February 24, 2021

CIO Patient Receives MACI Procedure to Regrow Healthy Cartilage in Knee

MaKayla struggled with knee pain for about four years due to repetitive stress from cheerleading and tumbling. In April 2018, MaKayla visited Central Indiana Orthopedics Walk-In Clinic due to increased knee pain from injury and started care with Dr. Carter. For the next year, MaKayla followed a conservative treatment plan to help her knee pain, but when the pain started interfering with daily activities such as walking and sports, Dr. Carter referred her to Dr. Camilleri for a closer look into surgical treatment options.

After further investigating, it was determined that MaKayla had a full thickness cartilage defect to a small area in her knee joint that was responsible for her pain. This can be a rather difficult problem to address and surgical options traditionally have been very limited in the past with varying success rates. Fortunately for MaKayla, CIO has subspecialty-trained surgeons who can offer state-of-the-art treatment and cutting-edge technology for various conditions that are complex in nature. After a discussion of all the surgical options, Dr. Camilleri ultimately felt it was best to proceed with a cartilage restoration procedure called MACI (matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation). MACI allows a surgeon to biopsy a patient’s own cartilage cells, regenerate and multiply those cells, and then re-implant them back into the cartilage defect of their knee, after which they become incorporated into the defect and continue to regenerate their own cartilage cells. In layman’s terms, it is essentially a means to fill a “pothole” in a patient’s knee with their own cartilage instead of cadaver cartilage.

After the biopsy and regeneration of MaKayla’s own cartilage cells, Dr. Camilleri successfully re-implanted her own cartilage cells into her knee in January 2021, the first procedure of its kind performed at the Fishers surgery center.

“I am still recovering from the procedure, but the pain in my knee has been reduced significantly compared to before surgery,” MaKayla said. “After dealing with knee pain for several years, I’m thankful that Dr. Camilleri recommended the MACI procedure.”

Over the next several months, MaKayla should continue to experience decreased pain and increased function in her knee. The rehabilitation process after this type of procedure is lengthy and requires dedication, but most patients go on to make a full recovery and are able to participate in athletic activities.

“I would definitely recommend Central Indiana Orthopedics and Dr. Camilleri,” MaKayla said. “I have had nothing but good experiences at CIO. The doctors and staff have been very caring during my journey as a patient.”

(MaKayla Koon, age 19, with Dr. Camilleri before her surgery in January 2021)