Pioneering knee surgery is always developing, and 2016 has so far been a big year for Circle hospital with the launch of the biological knee service, designed to treat people who have damaged their knees.

The knee specialists are using cutting-edge soft tissue techniques and cell-based therapies. The specialist Knee Unit at CircleBath hospital is concentrating on new technologies to preserve the natural knee, and some of these pioneering surgical techniques are available to patients today, where clinically appropriate.

Many people injure their meniscus or ‘footballer’s cartilage’, which is a rubbery shock absorber in the knee. Some meniscal tears can be repaired, but the current treatment for most tears is to remove the torn part, as the meniscus cannot easily heal. Removing a piece of meniscus can lead to earlier arthritis, so the team are now inserting scaffolds to allow the meniscus to regenerate, and are using transplant menisci.

Implantation of a scaffold for partial replacement of the meniscus of the knee aims to support the body’s own physiological pathways for healing by providing a three-dimensional matrix for cell adhesion and vascular ingrowth, when attached to the vascular portion of the meniscus.

In the short term, the procedure aims to restore the load-bearing and shock absorbing functions of the damaged meniscus, contributing to pain relief and restoring functional mobility. The holy grail of knee surgery is to re-grow articular cartilage. Articular cartilage is the slippery gristle that covers the weight-bearing surface of joints, allowing the joints to move smoothly. Normal articular cartilage surfaces moving over one another are more slippery than two ice cubes rubbing together.

The problem is articular cartilage doesn’t easily re-grow when damaged, so the knee specialists at Circle are launching a cutting-edge technology called chondrocyte transplantation to take a small number of normal cartilage cells out of the knee and grow them in a laboratory before re-implanting in the patient’s knee.

Mr Neil Bradbury is experienced in the use of this pioneering surgery. Early results have been encouraging. The future of this type of technology is very promising, and companies all over the world are looking to improve this and similar techniques. The team of specialist consultant orthopaedic knee surgeons at CircleBath have refined the treatment of complex ligament injuries, and are now able to reconstruct or repair most of the ligaments around the knee through keyhole surgery. This has made a huge difference to a patient’s recovery when combined with specialist physiotherapy.

Knee surgery has a very high success rate and is a constructive branch of medicine, so most people are very satisfied with the results.

CircleBath’s Knee Unit brings together leading specialist knee surgeons, including Neil Bradbury, Umer Butt, Ben Lankester, David Shardlow and Allister Trezies. CircleBath hospital has developed a reputation for pioneering healthcare.

For more information about knee surgery, visit circlebath.co.uk or call 01761 422 222.