Synthetic Cartilage Implant

What is the Cartiva® SCI?

The Cartiva® Synthetic Cartilage Implant (Cartiva SCI) is a man-made (synthetic) implant that is made of a soft plastic-like substance (polyvinyl alcohol) and salt water (saline). These materials are combined and molded into a solid, slippery and durable implant. The implant replaces the damaged cartilage surface of the big toe.

Your toes’ joints are uniquely designed for movement — especially the big toe, which provides most of the propulsive force needed for walking and running. Unlike fusion, which locks the joint in place, Cartiva allows your joint to move how it’s supposed to, so you retain your mobility and range of motion.

The Cartiva Implant is a cutting edge surgical advancement for patients suffering from big toe joint arthritis
Cartiva Implants provides Reduced Pain, Functional Movement and Improved Range of Motion


The Cartiva SCI is made to replace the damaged cartilage surface of the big toe. The implant is placed into the bone in your big toe. The Cartiva SCI provides a new smooth, slippery surface in the joint. As a result, the Cartiva SCI may help relieve the pain and stiffness in your big toe caused by the worn cartilage.

Cartiva® is backed by the largest and longest comprehensive study ever conducted for the treatment of osteoarthritis in the big toe joint.


Reduce pain, retain movement. Cartiva helps you get back your life


From walking, to running, to playing tennis, Cartiva allows you to do the things you love 1


Cartiva doesn’t just preserve your natural range of motion, it enhances it

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Cartiva treats painful arthritis in the joint of the big toe. This arthritis involves the wearing down of the cartilage tissue in the big toe joint.

Only your surgeon can determine if Cartiva is right for you and your unique circumstances. However, if you suffer from osteoarthritis in your big toe and want to pursue a solution that will not inhibit your foot’s motion, you may be a great candidate for Cartiva.

Cartiva is used in a surgical procedure that is performed in an operating room using general anesthesia often combined with a regional ankle anesthetic. An incision (approximately 2 inches long) is made along the top of your toe joint. Then, your surgeon will use special tools to remove bone to make a hole for the implant. Your surgeon will then place the Cartiva into the hole. The Cartiva implant provides a smooth, slippery, load-bearing surface. The Cartiva stays in place without the use of cement or glue. Then, your surgeon will close the cut in your toe with stitches. The entire surgery typically takes 35 minutes.

Cartiva patients experience a clinically meaningful reduction in pain two weeks following surgery with the maximum amount of pain reduction starting at six months and beyond.

Cartiva patients return to activities of daily living faster than patients who undergo a fusion procedure, due to a less restrictive rehabilitation protocol.

Ideally, a lifetime. Should the implant need to be removed or replaced, its use does not prevent the use of a fusion.

Many insurance providers cover the procedure, but you should check with your insurer to confirm coverage of Cartiva prior to surgery.

1 These results, seen in the results of Cartiva’s pivotal clinical trial, may not be typical and cannot be predictive of other patient outcomes. Individual results and activity levels after surgery vary and depend on many factors including age, weight and prior activity level.