ABICUS procedure

ABICUS procedure – Bone Marrow Derived Cells

Our surgeons have developed a pioneering new technique to regenerate the damaged joint surface (articular cartilage). The procedure has been trialed at University Hospital Southampton, with Gorav Datta as the principle lead for the trial.

Patients are suitable if they have a full-thickness cartilage defect, with either normal or relatively normal surrounding articular cartilage (surrounding joint surface).

The procedure involves taking bone marrow cells from the pelvis (containing Mesenchymal Stem Cells – MSCs) and concentrating them in the operating theatre to give a large number of cells in a small volume of fluid.

Cells being harvested from the pelvis

Concentrated cells

These cells are then placed on a membrane and implanted into the joint surface defect.

Microscopic view of the scaffold

The procedure is performed via key-hole (arthroscopic) surgery and takes approximately 40 minutes. Patients can go home on the day of surgery.


Although the procedure is performed through keyhole surgery, the recovery does take much longer than a normal knee arthroscopy. Full recovery is 3 – 6 months and intensive physiotherapy is required to restore the normal movement and muscle function.