Effectiveness and limitations of autologous osteochondral grafting for the treatment of articular cartilage defects in the knee

Imade, Shinji; Kumahashi, Nobuyuki; Kuwata, Suguru; Iwasa, Jyunji; Uchio, Yuji
January 2012
Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy;Jan2012, Vol. 20 Issue 1, p160
Academic Journal
Purpose: To evaluate the effectiveness and limitations of autologous osteochondral grafting for the treatment of articular cartilage defects in the knee. Methods: The subjects were 40 patients who had undergone autologous osteochondral grafting. Fifteen knees had cartilage defects combined with anterior cruciate ligament tears (ACL group), 15 knees had cartilage defects combined with osteoarthritis (OA group), and 10 knees had cartilage defects combined with osteochondral dissecans (OCD group). From one to five osteochondral pegs were harvested from the less-weight-bearing periphery of the articular surface of the femoral condyle and grafted to cartilage defects. The clinical results were assessed based on the Lysholm score and radiographic and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) image assessment. Results: The median follow-up duration was 24 months (range from 12 to 41 months). The mean Lysholm score following treatment was improved in all groups. The patients who had cartilage defects combined with OA had a significantly poorer prognosis than did those with cartilage defects combined with ACL or OCD. In the OA group, advanced stage and an alignment abnormality were correlated with poor prognosis. Advanced age was correlated with poor prognosis. Other parameters showed no significant difference in prognosis. Conclusion: Autologous osteochondral grafting was found to be an effective technique for treating relatively young patients who had cartilage defects combined with ACL injury or OCD, but this technique showed limited results in treating cartilage defects based on advanced patient age and degenerative changes in the cartilage. Level of evidence: Diagnostic studies-investigating a diagnostic test, Level III.


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