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Johns Hopkins Health - Cultivating Cartilage

Summer 2008
Issue No. 1

Cultivating Cartilage

Date: July 24, 2008

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For Tori Hooper’s knee repair, it was out with artificial and in with biological


When you’re 20 years old, being told you could lose a leg is akin to a death sentence. That news and severe pain brought Tori Hooper to Johns Hopkins orthopedic surgeon Michael Trice, M.D.

Two years earlier, after Hooper suffered an agonizing field hockey knee injury, surgeons elsewhere intervened to repair her torn meniscus cartilage. But her pain returned, and Trice could see why: In responding to Hooper’s torn cartilage—which led to the loss of other cartilage in the bone beneath it—the earlier surgeons had taken the standard approach.

Conventional knee repair uses artificial joint materials that work well for older patients, but there’s a limited life span, which usually means more surgeries down the road. For younger and more active adults like Hooper, that knee would wear down again in one to five years.

So Trice opted for a revolutionary and much longer-term approach called autologous chondrocyte implantation, or ACI. Instead of using synthetic parts, Trice extracted cartilage cells from Hooper’s knee, grew them in a lab where they multiplied to millions, and then injected the new cartilage cells back into her knee.

“It worked for me,” says Hooper, who now exercises normally and has ditched the crutches she came in on. “I feel like a normal college kid again. I feel like I’m back.”


Mind | With her knee pain and crutches in the past, Tori Hooper feels confident and back in the game.

Heart | Knee and other joint injuries do more than put you out of commission. The loss of activity and regular exercise also affects heart health.

Joints | When one joint is out of whack, it’s like the shot heard—or felt—around the world. Successful treatment means less chance for trauma to other joints.


Want to learn more about cartilage restoration? Visit us online here, or call us at 877-546-1872.

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