Cartilage transplants used to repair damaged shoulder joints

Published on December 5, 2008 at 8:57 AM · 11 Comments

"But for younger patients in severe pain, with limited movement because of cartilage injury or wear, transplants are a new and emerging option that can help them return to an active lifestyle," Cole said.

Cole has numerous years of experience in tissue repair and heads the Cartilage Restoration Center at Rush, a multidisciplinary program specializing in the restoration of articular cartilage and meniscal deficiency. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed studies on the subject and teaches the surgical techniques to physicians in the U.S. and abroad.

Rush University Medical Center's orthopedics program ranks tenth in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. Physicians from Rush serve as the team physicians for the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago White Sox. For more information on orthopedics at Rush, visit or call (888) 352-RUSH.

Rush University Medical Center is an academic medical center that encompasses the more than 600 staffed-bed hospital (including Rush Children's Hospital), the Johnston R. Bowman Health Center and Rush University. Rush University, with more than 1,730 students, is home to one of the first medical schools in the Midwest, and one of the nation's top-ranked nursing colleges. Rush University also offers graduate programs in allied health and the basic sciences. Rush is noted for bringing together clinical care and research to address major health problems, including arthritis and orthopedic disorders, cancer, heart disease, mental illness, neurological disorders and diseases associated with aging.

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  1. Tony g Tony g Australia says:

    Firstly, I cannot believe that no one has commented on this article yet. I damaged my shoulder some years ago playing football. Sinse then I've been weight training to preserve good health. It has now been about 17 years sinse the injury. In the past 2-3 years I foolishly stopped training due to work commitments. I come to train again about 6 months ago & cutting a long story short I was told by Doctors & specialists that my joint was worn away due to arthritis. I've been a fit person all of my adult life and this was a overwhelming dissapointment which was out of my control. I still refuse to accept it. However I'm now 32 and keeping fit and after seeing this information, I intend on making further inquiries. There is possible hope after all.  

  2. Sue Gramlich Sue Gramlich United States says:

    Just been told that I have to replace the joint in my shoulder.  There is no cartilage left. I am so interested in this.  I'm a very young 61.  Always have been in shape...good muscles...but a bad joint.  This sounds amazing. Will be contacting someone to see if this is an option for me.  

  3. Tony G Tony G Australia says:

    Hello again,
    I hope that Sue Granlich didn't write Her comment on the basis of what I wrote. I have since found out according to the Doctors I'm currently consulting that cartlidge regrowth can only be applied to the shoulder at the size of a 20 cent piece (Australian currency). Doctors or not. I tend to disagree. I've also been speaking to people who work in stem cell research. There are rumours of clinical trials on knees for cartlidge regrowth. If there is success here then theres room for improvement. Hopefully for shoulders. Best of luck Sue.
    Tony G.

  4. Sue Gramlich Sue Gramlich United States says:

    Cartilage regrowth is being done on young people only in the states. So,you may be a candidate. I am seeing someone who is in the teaching/research on this very issue. Didn't realize it was such a small piece being regenerated. I know they are growing it from one's own body also. Hope you can get some answers for yourself. You're to young to have this happening. (I think Mass. General and New England Baptist in Boston would be good places to check out).

    Thanks for your input Tony.

  5. jerry jerry United States says:

    Willing to be in a experimental program to try and regrow cartilage for shoulder or have a transplant done. I am 63 and was a 3 handicap on the golf course. I want to still hit it long and far and will do what it takes. I live in Buffalo,NY. Email me if you need someone.

    Thank you

  6. Sue Gramlich Sue Gramlich United States says:

    I've been told that we are to old for regrowth of cartilage. When it's gone it's gone. Who are you seeing?

  7. Mike Mike United States says:

    I'm 58 years old and have been a boxer and weightlifter. I still work out even though I have no cartilage left in my shoulders. I heard about this years ago when they were doing this procedure in Sweden and was wondering when the U.S. was going to get into the 20th century. I am definately going to look into this, it would be nice to be able to work out without pain for a change.....

  8. Rick LePera Rick LePera United States says:

    I am 62 year old male that has had a liftime of exercise and bodybuilding. I still work out 5 days a week. A year ago I was told I needed immediate shoulder replacement. I sought out other opinions and the current surgeon I am going to is treating with cordisone. I have read on cartilage replacement being done in Europe. Has anyone had success. My intentions are to not give in to surgery. I am active and indend to stay that way. Any input would be appreciated.  

    • George Edwards George Edwards United States says:

      I am 47 years old and active as a firefighter, I  ride motocross, lift wieghts , mountain bike etc. all of wich cause pain. I was told after an MRI that I have no cartilage left in my shoulder. I am considering all options including replacement. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks

  9. Katelyn Rutledge Katelyn Rutledge United States says:

    I am 25 years old and have seen some of the best doctors there are in Nashville TN. The doctor is a close family friend and he has examined my shoulders many times. I have had MRI's done, X-rays, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medicine. NOTHING WORKS. I am pretty sure there is absolutely no cartilage in my shoulders and probably in others parts of my body. I am very athletic and grew up playing numerous sports. My left shoulder/arm is constantly numb, tingling sensation always, sharp pains here and there. It is probably one of the most annoying constant problems I have ever dealt with. This has been going on for about 10 years and I am finally to the point where I can not stand it. I have recently started to run a lot and it obviously irritates  my shoulders beyond belief. If you need a young, very in shape individual I am your girl. I would do just about anything to stop this. I am thinking and looking into surgery in nashville but I do not want a temporary fix, I just want it fixed.

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