Cartilage Repair, Open Incision Technique (Zimmer® DeNovo® NT Natural Tissue Graft)


This procedure repairs damaged articular cartilage. This is the cartilage that covers and protects the ends of your bones where they meet in your body's joints. When this cartilage is damaged, bone can rub painfully against bone. With this technique, a patch of cartilage cells is used to repair the damage.


This surgery is performed through a small incision at the site of your injury. The surgeon carefully inspects and clears away the damaged cartilage. This leaves a small, bare spot of exposed bone surrounded by healthy cartilage. The surgeon prepares this exposed bone to accept the graft.

Creating the Graft

Sterile foil is pressed into this area to make a mold of the defect. The surgeon fills the mold with the DeNovo®NT Graft. This is a donor tissue that has been minced into tiny pieces. These pieces are spread out evenly to cover the bottom of the mold. A special glue is poured on top of these pieces, filling the mold. Within ten minutes, the glue sets. The graft is lifted from the foil. It is ready for implantation.

Implanting the Graft

The surgeon puts more glue on the bare spot. The patch is pressed into place to cover this exposed bone. Its custom shape ensures a perfect fit. Over time, the cells in the graft will grow. They will fill the defect with new cartilage.