ACI is not recommended for treating knee problems caused by damaged articular cartilage, unless it is used in studies that are designed to produce good-quality information about the results of the procedure. These results should include measuring any improvement in patients’ quality of life, and the benefits and risks of ACI over a long period of time.

If ACI is offered as part of a clinical study, the doctor should explain that there are uncertainties about the long-term benefits of this procedure and the possible risks, such as locking of the knee, infections and not being able to fully straighten the leg.

This guidance updates and replaces NICE technology appraisal 16 (published in December 2000).