Amsterdam Ankle Cartilage Team Accredited Official ICRS Center of Excellence

The Amsterdam Ankle Cartilage Team is proud to announce – on behalf of and as part of the Orthopaedic Surgery Department and the Academic Center for Evidence-bases Sports medicine (ACES) – that it has been accepted as an ICRS (International Cartilage Regeneration & Joint Preservation Society) Center of Excellence. The application to become a center of excellence has been rewarded with the official entitlement of a Center of Excellence.

As the ICRS writes on their website, an ICRS teaching Center is described as “the recommended place-to-go to for unique one-on-one learning experiences and practical advice from world leading experts on current state-of-the-art cartilage repair surgical techniques, patient evaluation and non-operative treatment of cartilage injury”. The ICRS states that these centers are serving as outstanding professional development experiences for fellows, residents & students (ICRS members).

The Amsterdam Ankle Cartilage Team went through a selective and though selection process in which the clinical excellence, educational commitment, scientific activities as well as involvement in the ICRS was tested for qualification. Concerning the department and the collaborating teams, one can note that the Amsterdam Ankle Cartilage team is embedded within and beyond the department of orthopaedic surgery of the Amsterdam UMC, which is an orthopaedic sports medicine clinical and research institute on its turn embedded in both the Academic Center for Evidence-based Sports medicine (ACES). The program on treatment of cartilage damage has officially been accredited as an Expert Centre for the treatment of foot and ankle cartilage injuries in 2018 by the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centers (NFU and focuses on both the clinical and research part of the injured patient with a cartilage lesion.

Over the past decade, multiple novel surgical interventions have been developed and proven effective in our treatment algorithm for cartilage and osteochondral lesions of the lower extremity. Furthermore, our treatment algorithm is supplemented with an inventive minimally invasive arthroscopic technique – the Nanoscope™ which is a novel system that is used for instant diagnostic imaging and less invasive arthroscopic procedures. This technique is accompanied by a strong research line. The clinical care for patients with a cartilage lesion goes hand in hand with research guided by increasing insights in diagnosis and (minimally invasive) treatment from the latest scientific research. Our current team is active and consists of (associate) professors, post-doctoral researchers, PhD-candidates, and motivated and active students conducting scientific research. The active nature of our team has led to the production of numerous cartilage-related publications over the past decade.

Currently, there is a diversity of research projects that have been initiated and are ongoing. We look at cartilage damage as pillars which we research as incremental cartilage damage in the ankle: the cascade analogy. Hence, we research the (primary and secondary) prevention, diagnosis and (after-)treatment of very early cartilage damage, osteochondral lesions and end-stage osteo-arthritis. Furthermore, new surgical techniques have been developed that are now standard care, such as Fixation Procedures of fragmentous osteochondral lesions and Autograft Procedures including osteoperiostic grafts from the iliac crests. Additionally, we continuously research innovative (preventive) interventions. Besides this, we are currently performing Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) for cartilage lesions of the ankle. Visitors are more than welcome to become a member of our diverse research team and provide innovative novel ideas.

As a conclusive remark, we can say that we are extremely happy to be an official ICRS scientific and clinical Center of Excellence, and our role as a Center of Excellence to aim to contribute to the ICRS community by helping their members improve both their clinical and scientific skill in our internationally recognized learning environment will be taken highly seriously.