Autologous tenocyte implanation (ATI) non-surgical care for tendinopathy uses your own healthy tendon cells to replenish those lost in damaged tendon, regenerate its structure and prevent recurrent symptoms.

This is a new “tissue engineering” technique for patients who have not responded to usual treatment. Trials are still in progress but evidence to date suggests a significant response in this group. It should be considered as an alternative to surgery.

Procedure

The diagnosis will need to be confirmed with ultrasound or MRI prior to treatment. Your doctor may discuss the option of ATI with us to determine suitability and if you wish, an initial appointment will be made for you to see one of our radiologists trained in tenocyte implantation. The procedure occurs in two stages. A biopsy is performed to harvest a small piece of healthy tendon (typically the tendon below your kneecap) which is sent to the Orthocell©, a biotechnology company at Macquarie University in Perth to isolate the tendon cells. It takes 4-6 weeks to grow enough for us to implant back into the damaged tendon as an injection with ultrasound guidance.

Post Procedure Care

You will need to rest from any vigorous activity for 2 days but can then return to normal daily activities and light duties. Avoid those movements that know aggravate your problem. As with any musculoskeletal treatment, a rehabilitation program is essential, guided by your surgeon, sports doctor or physiotherapist. The recommendation is for:

  • Weeks 1-2: Stretching exercises
  • Weeks 4-6: Graduated strengthening exercises

Improvement occurs steadily from 3 weeks to 6 months as the aim is to regenerate the tendon, not just treat the symptom.

Risks / Side Effects

Because we are re-injecting your own tendon cells, there is no risk of allergic reaction and no adverse effect on the tendon structure. Any injection carries a small risk of introducing infection, about 1 in 30,000.

Before your Scan

It is a good idea to wear clothing that allows easy access to the area that is being imaged.

Duration

To be confirmed.