10 Important Things to Know Before Getting Subchondroplasty

subchondroplastyWhat is Subchondroplasty?

Subchondroplasty (or SCP) is a method where a doctor injects a hard-setting bone substitute into the bone in order to seal up a fracture. When the leg bone, tibia, or knee becomes overstressed with wear and tear, they develop defects such as insufficiency fractures or bone marrow edema (also known as “bone bruises”). These insufficiency fractures are very painful — in fact, much of the pain associated with arthritis in the knee actually results from the fracture, not “bone on bone” changes.

Subchondroplasty is minimally invasive and uses X-ray imaging to monitor the body’s interior in real-time. Using this imaging technique, orthopedic surgeons can find insufficiency fractures in the bone and fill them with a bone graft substitute that spurs growth of actual bone over it. The result is a healed bone and reduced pain in the leg and knee.

10 Things to Know About Subchondroplasty

  1. An orthopedic surgeon may prescribe medications and rest before opting for this minimally invasive procedure.
  2. Subchondroplasty is not recommended for patients with BMI greater than 40 or for people with severe malalignment of the knee joint.
  3. Being overweight and poor diet increase the likelihood of developing bone marrow edema. If your orthopedic surgeon suggests this procedure, they will also recommend lifestyle changes for weight loss to prevent further necessary treatment.
  4. The hard-setting bone substitute is made of an engineered calcium phosphate mineral compound that mimics chemical structure of human bone. Over time, the compound is resorbed and replaced with new bone.
  5. Subchondroplasty is an outpatient procedure and only takes about 20 minutes to complete.
  6. Patients are able to bear weight immediately after their procedure. Crutches may be recommended for 1-2 weeks after the surgery to reduce strain on the healing joint.
  7. Post-op pain should start to decrease within 24 to 36 hours after subchondroplasty.
  8. The subchondroplasty procedure is relatively novel and was first introduced in late 2010.
  9. To regain strength and mobility in the knee, your orthopedic surgeon will recommend physical therapy after the subchondroplasty procedure.
  10. Future knee replacement is still an option if this procedure is not effective.

If you or someone you know is experiencing leg pain due to insufficiency fractures or bone marrow edema, contact Dr. Stacie Grossfeld at Orthopaedic Specialists. Dr. Grossfeld has about two years of experiencing performing the subchondroplasty procedure and while doing so she has seen excellent results.

For more information and to schedule an appointment with Louisville orthopedic surgeon Dr. Grossfeld, call 502-212-2663. You can also visit either of the Orthopaedic Specialists’ locations in Louisville, KY to get more information and schedule an appointment today.