We knew that Carlos Guillen was going to require some surgery to clean up his knee problems. What we didn’t know was exactly what kind of surgery he would receive.
Microfracture surgery seems like it has risen in popularity over the last few years. Perhaps it has been in vogue much longer than that but wasn’t the buzz word it has become. A piece written by Dr. Jonathan Cluett helps explain what Guillen will be facing.
So what exactly is microfracture surgery?
"A microfracture creates small holes in the bone. The surface layer of bone, called the subchondral bone, is hard and lacks good blood flow. By penetrating this hard layer, a microfracture allows the deeper, more vascular bone to access the surface layer. This deeper bone has more blood supply, and the cells can then get to the surface layer and stimulate cartilage growth."
The procedure is certainly a big deal. The doctor lists the alternative treatments as things called “cartilage transfer” or “cartilage implantation”. I can’t say much about those but they don’t sound like much more fun. Ouch, what will the recovery be like? Glad you asked:
"Weight bearing is usually limited for 6 to 8 weeks, then gradually progressed over time. It may take 4 to 6 months before one can return to sport activities, and even longer to return to competition. Professional athletes may be sidelined up to a year after microfracture surgery."
Carlos Beltran underwent “regular” knee surgery last January and didn’t return until mid-July. The results of his return have been very unlike what baseball fans have come to expect from Beltran.
The Tigers have not put any sort of timetable on Guillen’s return but it is hard to imagine he will be ready to go until sometime after the start of the season.