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Florida Orthopaedic Institute Completes 1st MACI Articulated Cartilage Transplant

By May 18, 2017May 22nd, 2019Announcements

Using a patient’s own cells to grow a replacement structure to treat cartilage defects.

For Immediate Release

Tampa, FL. (May, 2017) – Florida Orthopaedic Institute announced today that Seth Gasser, M.D., performed the first MACI® articulated cartilage transplant ever to be done in the Tampa Bay area on April 13, 2017, at Florida Orthopaedic Institute Surgery Center. MACI stands for Matrix Associated Chondrocyte Implantation, a technology that uses the patient’s own cartilage cells and glues them into the cartilage defect using a structure known as a cellularized scaffold. MACI is done through smaller incisions with significant improvements in operating time and an easier path to recovery. While this technology is new in the United States, it has an almost 10-year track record in Europe with excellent results.

MACI uses the patient’s own cells to treat cartilage defects in the knee. Many times when a patient comes in to see their doctor with knee pain, the cause is a piece of cartilage that has come loose or worn down. Since cartilage does not grow back, these defects usually get worse over time and can eventually lead the patient to early osteoarthritis. MACI helps many patients avoid early partial and total joint replacements by restoring the cartilage surface of their knee before the problem progresses to a much worse situation.

“We can treat a variety of different patients with MACI,” said Dr. Gasser of Florida Orthopaedic Institute. “It may be a parent who is experiencing severe knee pain while performing simple tasks around the house such as walking up the stairs or doing yard work. MACI can also be used to treat higher demand patients such as athletes, firefighters, law enforcement professionals, and active military personnel.”

Here’s how the MACI process works. Once the doctor decides that surgical intervention is necessary, the patient comes in for a quick knee scope to assess the damage. If the patient has a large articular cartilage defect, a small biopsy of the cartilage tissue is sent to the Vericel labs in Cambridge, MA. Over the next 1-2 months, the cells are grown and multiplied, then placed on a membrane ready to implantation. The surgeon implants the membrane seeded with the patient’s cells. After surgery, the cells will continue to grow and solidify, filling the cartilage void for the patient and leaving them with a new cartilage surface, restoring function and alleviating pain.

Florida Orthopaedic Institute is the first location in the Tampa Bay area to perform this MACI procedure.

MACI Transplant

Florida Orthopaedic Institute

Founded in 1989, Florida Orthopaedic Institute is Florida’s largest orthopedic group and provides expertise and treatment of orthopedic-related injuries and conditions, including adult reconstruction and arthritis, anesthesiology, chiropractic services, foot and ankle, general orthopedics, hand and wrist, interventional spine, musculoskeletal oncology, orthopedic trauma, physical medicine and rehabilitation, physical and occupational therapy, sports medicine, shoulder and elbow, spine, urgent care, and weight management, among others. The organization treats patients throughout its surgery centers in North Tampa and Citrus Park, an urgent care center in South Tampa, and 10 office locations in Bloomingdale, Brandon, Brooksville, Citrus Park, North Tampa, Northdale, Palm Harbor, South Tampa, Sun City Center and Wesley Chapel. For more information, please visit: and ‘like’ us on Facebook:

About Vericel Corporation

Vericel develops, manufactures, and markets expanded autologous cell therapies for the treatment of patients with serious diseases and conditions. The company currently markets three cell therapy products in the United States; MACI® (autologous cultured chondrocytes on porcine collagen membrane), autologous cellularized scaffold product indicated for the repair of symptomatic, single or multiple full-thickness cartilage defects of the knee with or without bone involvement in adults, Carticel® (autologous cultured chondrocytes), autologous chondrocyte implant for the treatment of cartilage defects in the knee in patients who have had an inadequate response to a prior arthroscopic or other surgical repair procedure, and Epicel® (cultured epidermal autografts), a permanent skin replacement for the treatment of patients with deep dermal or full thickness burns greater than or equal to 30% of total body surface area.

For more information, please visit the company’s website at

MACI® is a trademark of Vericel Corporation.