Narrator: This is Science Today. Young, active adults with damaged knee or ankle cartilage have an alternative to total joint replacement. Dr. William Bugbee, a professor of orthopedics at the University of California, San Diego, says they've been successfully transplanting cartilage into diseased joints for over a decade, but interest in the field is starting to grow.
Bugbee: Transplantation of parts of joints is very uncommon. This has been extremely successful in helping young, active people with diseased or injured joints return to an essentially normal lifestyle. And that's why we've been continuing this work and the interest has grown.
Narrator: Unlike organ transplants, cartilage is matched just for size - not immunology or blood type. Bugbee says the procedure offers young people new hope.
Bugbee: There's really no good alternative for young people with injured joints or cartilage surface because that surface does not heal. So these people are usually troubled by knee problems, for example, their whole life and ultimately have premature arthritis or disability.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.