The costs of cartilage injuries can be significant to both the young and the elderly. Traumatic
injuries are seen with automobile accidents and, recently, with combat trauma.
Osteoarthritis (OA) affects over one fifth of the US population over 45 and almost one half
of those over 65.
OA cartilage loses proteoglycans and possesses lower mechanical properties. Wear of the
cartilage can lead to complete destruction of the articular surface and significant pain.
In the US alone, costs of OA are in excess of $65 billion per year (both medical costs and lost
wages). Comorbidities are common with OA and are also costly to manage.
In addition to the elderly, cartilage injuries in children and adolescents are increasingly ob-
served, with roughly 20% of knee injuries in adolescents requiring surgery.

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