Updated 3/7/2024
BioCartialge for Talar Dome Lesion, Cartilage Transplant

What is BioCartilage?

Arthrex® BioCartilage® Extracellular Matrix is a new product that is revolutionizing the surgical repair of cartilage damage. With BioCartilage, the joint heals stronger and more quickly than with traditional methods. The added strength from BioCartilage also reduces your chance of re-injury.


A state-of-the-art treatment for cartilage damage, BioCartliage is a substance developed from donor cartilage. Therefore, it contains the essential components of joint cartilage, including type II collagen, proteoglycans, and natural growth factors that (together) stimulate growth and healing in the cartilage cells.

What causes cartilage damage to the ankle?

Your ankle joint is the meeting of the bottom of the shin bone (tibia) and the top of the ankle bone (talus). The top of the ankle bone is rounded and coated with hyaline cartilage – the tough, flexible connective tissue that absorbs shock and facilitates motion in the joints.


An osteochondral defect, also known as a Talar dome lesion, is a spot where the cartilage has been damaged or worn through. Osteochondral lesions most often result from an injury, such as a sprain. If the cartilage injury doesn’t heal correctly, the cartilage can break down, and sometimes, a fragment of cartilage can break away and “float” nearby.


Cartilage lesions can cause chronic pain, clicking or locking sensations in the joint, and swelling during weight-bearing activities.


How do cartilage transplants improve osteochondral lesion treatment? 

In a traditional osteochondral lesion repair procedure, the surgeon had to drill holes in the cartilage and completely remove the damaged tissue. This causes the area to bleed, and in its place, the body grows fibrocartilage repair tissue. Fibrocartilage is the scar tissue of cartilage – it’s weaker and less dense than regular, healthy cartilage. 


BioCartilage for osteochondral lesion, Cartialge Transplant

The surgeon could supplement the healing cartilage with an osteochondral autograft (supplementing the healing with cartilage and bone taken from elsewhere in the body). This requires taking material from elsewhere in the body — for example, knee cartilage. Or, in an allograft, using material from a donor, which has a slight chance of being rejected by the body.


What makes BioCartilage a preferred and more successful treatment option is that it acts as a scaffold to encourage the growth of new, healthy cartilage. It provides structural support to the proliferating cells and helps the cells interact with each other to grow stronger than fibrocartilaginous scar tissue.


Using arthroscopy, we can transplant the BioCartilage through a small incision, resulting in faster recovery and a stronger ankle. In addition, BioCartilage is a relatively inexpensive choice compared to other options.


BioCartilage for osteoarthritis 

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and results from the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. It is degenerative, meaning it worsens over time and can result in pain, joint damage, and difficulty moving. 


Untreated cartilage injury can progress to osteoarthritis. Repairing your cartilage with BioCartilage results in stronger, healed cartilage and can help prevent the development of osteoarthritis.


Recovery from osteochondral lesion repair with BioCartilage 

After an osteochondral lesion repair, patients can expect to spend about two to four weeks in a cast. You’ll be fitted with a boot and begin physical therapy after four weeks and can expect to bear weight at around six weeks. 


BioCartilage reduces the risk of re-injury because the healed cartilage surface is stronger than fibrocartilage scar tissue. The repair will last longer and will cause less pain in the long term than repairs through traditional methods.


University Foot and Ankle Institute, the right choice for ankle repair

The physicians at University Foot and Ankle Institute are nationally recognized experts in the treatment of cartilage damage and osteochondral defects. Our team is widely trained in orthopedic surgery, foot and ankle function, sports medicine, and physical therapy, meaning you’ll be in good hands throughout your entire diagnosis, treatment, and recovery period.


Our doctors and healthcare providers have decades of combined experience and are often called upon to train other foot and ankle surgeons on the advanced treatments available at UFAI.


For a consultation please call (877) 736-6001 or make an appointment online now.


University Foot and Ankle Institute is conveniently located throughout Southern California and the Los Angeles area. Our foot and ankle surgeons are available at locations in or near Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, the San Fernando Valley, El Segundo, the South Bay, LAX, Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Valencia, Santa Clarita, and Santa Barbara.


About Arthrex, Inc

University Foot & Ankle Institute is happy to offer treatment options from Arthrex Inc. Arthrex stands as a leader in orthopedic medical advancements, particularly in the realm of biologic solutions for cartilage repair. The company's dedication to improving articular cartilage repair is exemplified through its development of the BioCartilage® Extracellular Matrix. By integrating the cartilage extracellular matrix into microfracture procedures, Arthrex Inc. enhances the healing process, fostering more effective and resilient cartilage regeneration.


This blend of cutting-edge biologic technology with proven surgical techniques positions Arthrex Inc. at the forefront of orthopaedic care, providing patients with advanced, reliable solutions for their joint repair needs. Their commitment to innovation in biological treatments continues to set new standards in articular cartilage defect repair and overall joint health.



Biocartilage FAQs




BioCartialge FAQs


What is the recovery time to return to sports such as competitive dancing after this procedure?

We recommend a six-month recovery before returning to competitive sport


Can PRP (platelet-rich plasma) and stem cells significantly enhance the efficacy of a BioCartilage procedure?

PRP and stem cells can significantly enhance the efficacy of a BioCartilage procedure. Here's how they contribute to the process:


  • PRP can enhance the body's natural healing mechanisms, promoting faster and more efficient regeneration of cartilage tissue.
  • Introducing stem cells into a BioCartilage procedure can aid in the development of new, healthy cartilage tissue at the site of injury or degeneration.
  • PRP has been shown to reduce inflammation, leading to reduced pain and a more comfortable recovery period.


Potentially Enhanced Outcomes: The synergistic effect of using PRP and stem cells with BioCartilage might improve the overall outcomes of the procedure, potentially leading to better functionality and longevity of the repaired cartilage.




Catelas I, Sese N, Wu BM, Dunn JCY, Helgerson S, Tawil B. Human mesenchymal stem cell proliferation and osteogenic differentiation in fibrin gels in vitro. Tissue Eng. 2006;12:2385-96. doi: 10.1089/ten.2006.12.2385.


Chu CR, Fortier LA, Williams A, Payne KA, McCarrel TM, Bowers ME, et al. Minimally manipulated bone marrow concentrate compared with microfracture treatment of full-thickness chondral defects: a one-year study in an equine model. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2018;100:138-46. [PubMed] 


Desai S. Surgical treatment of a tibial osteochondral defect with debridement, marrow stimulation, and micronized allograft cartilage matrix: report of an all-arthroscopic technique. J Foot Ankle Surg. 2016;55:279-82.


Knutsen G, Drogset JO, Engebretsen L, et al. A randomized trial comparing autologous chondrocyte implantation with microfracture: findings at five years. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2007;89(10):2105-2112. 

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