Injuries to articular cartilage and menisci can lead to cartilage degeneration that ultimately results in arthritis. Different forms of arthritis affect ~50 million people in the USA alone, and it is therefore crucial to identify methods that will halt or slow the progression to arthritis, starting with the initiating events of cartilage and meniscus defects. The surgical approaches in current use have a limited capacity for tissue regeneration and yield only short-term relief of symptoms. Tissue engineering approaches are emerging as alternatives to current surgical methods for cartilage and meniscus repair. Several cell-based and tissue-engineered products are currently in clinical trials for cartilage lesions and meniscal tears, opening new avenues for cartilage and meniscus regeneration. This Review provides a summary of surgical techniques, including tissue-engineered products, that are currently in clinical use, as well as a discussion of state-of-the-art tissue engineering strategies and technologies that are being developed for use in articular cartilage and meniscus repair and regeneration. The obstacles to clinical translation of these strategies are also included to inform the development of innovative tissue engineering approaches.
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