Kneecap Surgery: Cartilage Removal Surgery may be used when pain severely limits your activities. Or it may be done when a rehab program just isn't helping enough. Some procedures may be done using arthroscopy. This method uses tiny incisions and special instruments to look and work inside the knee joint. Other procedures require open surgery. Cartilage Removal Damaged cartilage is removed from the back of the kneecap or from the groove in the thighbone. This is often done using arthroscopy. Debriding This removes damaged cartilage. This creates a smoother surface between the kneecap and thighbone. Burring This is done when the cartilage is worn down to the bone. Burring into the bone reaches the blood supply. This makes a new fibrous covering grow. Recovering from Surgery As you recover, you can aid the healing process by taking it easy at first. Your knee may be bandaged, wrapped, or iced to keep swelling down. You may be given a brace to protect your knee. This helps improve your range of motion and speed healing. Keep your leg raised above your heart so fluid can drain away and swelling is reduced. Surgery is often followed by a rehabilitation program.