MACI Makes New Knees


SALT LAKE CITY, UT. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — People who severely damage cartilage in their knees have a new treatment option that uses their own cells. MACI, or matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation is the first FDA approved product that actually grows a patient’s own cells on scaffolds, to be re-implanted.

“I am back to unlimited walking, unlimited hiking, so my husband and I are getting up to the mountain and getting on some trails, which is really nice,” said Karen Mohr.

Mohr was one of the first in the U.S. to get the MACI procedure last year, after damaging cartilage in her knee during an ultramarathon. First, Michael Banffy, MD, in Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Joint Preservation at Kerlan-Jobe Institute, biopsied Mohr’s cartilage cells, sent them to a lab to be grown on a matrix for four weeks, and here they are. In the main surgery, he defined the size of the damage.

Dr. Banffy explained, “Once that’s defined, I can take a template, typically some sort of sterile foil, and then from that sterile foil, I can cut the actual membrane to size and then glue that in with something called fibrin glue.” (Read Full Interview)

Dr. Banffy says the cells start to make themselves at home quickly.

“It’s almost immediate. You know, within 60 minutes, there are cells that have already adhered down to the bone below. So it occurs very quickly,” Dr. Banffy told Ivanhoe.

Rehab, on the other hand, will take a year. The cartilage cells need time to mature. Trying to do too much too soon could do more damage.

“There’s nothing I can do to speed it up. My best chance is to be patient and follow the protocol exactly as described, and then hopefully, when one year comes, my knee is ready.” Mohr stated.

Mohr hopes to be running in the mountains again this fall.

Both Mohr and Dr. Banffy say having patience during rehab can be the most difficult, but important part of the MACI procedure. The procedure has been performed successfully in Europe for a few years. You can get more information at

Contributors to this news report include: Wendy Chioji, Field Producer; Jason Ball, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:        MB #4429


BACKGROUND: Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty, can help relieve pain and restore function in severely diseased knee joints. The most common reason for knee replacement surgery is to relieve severe pain caused by osteoarthritis. People who need knee replacement surgery usually have problems walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of chairs. Some also have knee pain at rest. The procedure involves cutting away damaged bone and cartilage from the thighbone, shinbone and kneecap and replacing it with an artificial joint (prosthesis) made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics and polymers. In determining whether a knee replacement is the right choice, an orthopedic surgeon assesses the knee’s range of motion, stability and strength. X-rays help determine the extent of damage.



DIAGNOSING: A risk of knee replacement surgery is failure of the artificial joint. Daily use wears on even the strongest metal and plastic parts. Joint failure risk is higher if you stress the joint with high-impact activities or excessive weight. For most people, knee replacement provides pain relief, improved mobility and a better quality of life. And most knee replacements can be expected to last more than 15 years. After recovery, you can engage in various low-impact activities, such as walking, swimming, golfing or biking. But you should avoid higher impact activities, such as jogging, skiing, tennis and sports that involve contact or jumping.



NEW TECHNOLOGY: Michael Banffy, MD, Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Joint Preservation at Kerlan-Jobe Institute describes the MACI, which stands for matrix autologous chondrocyte implantation. It’s a two-part procedure where doctors go in with a scope and can evaluate a pothole that’s in the knee.  Doctors take a little piece of cartilage from the knee in a non-weight-bearing surface and send that into the lab and use the actual cartilage cells. They then embed on to a membrane which is called the matrix and that’s the material that is put back in the knee. Although the cells can adhere to the bone within 60 minutes, it will still take a year for them to grow and allow the patient to get back to normal activities.

(Source: Michael Banffy, MD)



Scott Stachowiak, PR


If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Michael Banffy, MD

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