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How is HGH used to repair knee cartilage?

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Quick Answer

Human growth hormone is not effective in repairing the cartilage of the knee, according to Dr. Barry Waldman. The knee's articular cartilage contains no blood vessels and therefore does not heal in the same manner as other tissues, reports Houston Methodist Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.

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Doctors classify articular cartilage injuries as one of four grades based on the severity of the damage, explains Houston Methodist Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. A grade IV injury penetrates all layers of the cartilage and is the only articular cartilage injury that triggers the body's natural healing processes by exposing the underlying bone and its blood supply. This healing process results in the creation of fibrocartilage to replace the original cartilage material.

Doctors advise patients to use heat, ice, physical therapy and orthopedic braces to strengthen and stabilize the affected knee. When intervention is necessary due to pain, doctors perform surgery to repair or restore the cartilage, according to Houston Methodist Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Restoration uses transplanted cartilage and bone or laboratory-grown cartilage to repair the lesion in the articular cartilage, while reparation includes the use of an arthroscopic camera to remove loose pieces of cartilage and trim rough edges around lesions, arthroscopic abrasion to trigger the formation of fibrocartilage, and microfracture, which also causes the underlying bone to begin creating new cartilage tissue.

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