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Vanderbilt Sports Medicine Opens Cartilage Treatment Center

November 11, 2009

To address the complicated needs of Middle Tennessee’s injured professional athletes and weekend warriors alike, Vanderbilt Orthopaedics has formed the Vanderbilt Center for Cartilage Repair and Osteochondritis Dissecans Treatment, a center dedicated to treating cartilage disorders. 

James Carey, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation

James Carey, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation

The Cartilage Center is one of few clinics in the nation dedicated to cartilage repair, and it is the first in the world to focus clinical and research efforts on osteochondritis dissecans, a rare condition in which a fragment of bone and cartilage separates causing pain, swelling and mechanical issues. Although rare, the disorder is an important cause of joint pain in adolescents.

“Cartilage injuries can be frustrating problems for people, especially for the teens and athletes who get them most often,” Carey said. “In the knee, healthy cartilage is about 1,000 times more slippery than ice on ice which allows for the bones to glide past each other. Without this layer of cartilage, the bones rub against each other resulting in arthritis if left untreated. Damaged cartilage generally does not grow back on its own, so restoring this surface with the optimal treatment is very important. Patients have a higher chance of success if they undergo the proper treatment the first time.”

 Formed within the Vanderbilt’s Division of Sports Medicine, The Cartilage Center is directed by James Carey, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation. Carey will begin seeing patients Wednesday, Nov. 18. In addition to patient care, The Center will be involved in research and education.

In addition to osteochondritis dissecans treatment, The Cartilage Center will offer treatment for focal cartilage problems.

The Cartilage Center is located at ­­­­the Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Institute on Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s main campus. Clinic appointments can be scheduled by calling (615) 343-9430. Visit for more information.



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