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ROH Patient Stories: Meet Grace

Photo caption: Here’s Grace a few months post-surgery when she made it to her first rugby game this year.

Grace came to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in 2023 after experiencing constant pain in her right knee due to damaged cartilage. She was struggling with everyday activities such as walking and had to stop doing a lot of the things she used to do like playing netball and going to watch the rugby.

Following a consultation with Professor Martyn Snow, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, at the Trust, Grace was recommended for an Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI) and Leg re-alignment surgery.

An ACI is a two-part procedure. First, the surgeon takes a small piece of articular cartilage from the knee. From this biopsy the cartilage cells, called chondrocytes, are isolated and grown in a laboratory. These cells produce cartilage which means they can help rebuild damaged cartilage. Once there are enough cells to repair the damaged area, the surgeon implants the chondrocytes into the knee where they create cartilage which resembles the original joint cartilage. In order to give the chondrocytes the best chance to grow, procedures such as leg re-alignment are sometimes also required (a surgery known as osteotomy) at the time of cell implantation. By changing the leg alignment, we can reduce the load on the damaged cartilage and improve outcomes.

Now in recovery, Grace is already in less pain and is slowly getting back to things like walking around the supermarket which used to be a real challenge.

Grace is looking forward to going to the gym and being able to walk and stand to attend sports and gigs again!


I can’t thank the staff enough during my treatment and stay in hospital. Having been to quite a few hospitals about my knee problems, ROH has the friendliest and most helpful staff – they are always happy to answer questions even if it might be a silly question and make you feel reassured. - Grace