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Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation as Treatment for Unsalvageable Osteochondritis Dissecans: 10- to 25-Year Follow-up

Journal article
Authors J. L. Carey
K. G. Shea
Anders Lindahl
H. S. Vasiliadis
Carl Lindahl
Lars Peterson
Published in American Journal of Sports Medicine
Volume 48
Issue 5
Pages 1134-1140
ISSN 03635465
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Laboratory Medicine
Institute of Clinical Sciences
Pages 1134-1140
Language en
Keywords articular cartilage resurfacing, autologous chondrocyte implantation, knee, long-term outcomes, osteochondritis dissecans
Subject categories Clinical Medicine


Background: An unsalvageable osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) fragment has been defined as one that cannot be saved. Unsalvageable OCD lesions have been treated with various techniques, including fragment excision, microfracture, osteochondral autograft transfer, fresh osteochondral allograft transplantation, and autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI). Hypothesis: Patients who underwent ACI as treatment for unsalvageable OCD more than 10 years ago would maintain satisfactory patient-oriented outcome measures and have a low need for additional open surgery, especially arthroplasty. Study Design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4. Methods: All Swedish and Norwegian patients (59 patients with 67 OCD lesions) who underwent ACI for OCD under the direction of the senior author between 1990 and 2005 were identified through manual chart review. Features of the patient, OCD lesion, and surgery were extracted from the medical record and intraoperative photographs. Patients were sent questionnaires to assess the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, Tegner-Wallgren activity score, and Lysholm score. In addition, patients were asked whether they had to undergo further surgery, including knee replacement, of the knee that underwent ACI. They were asked whether they would have the surgery again if in the same situation. Results: A total of 55 patients (93%) with 61 OCD lesions (91%) responded. The median follow-up duration was 19 years (range, 10-26 years) and the median age at follow-up was 43 years (range, 28-69 years). Subsequent arthroscopy was performed in the majority of cases, although many of these were scheduled “second looks” as part of a study. With respect to other subsequent surgery, 12 knees (20%) underwent any additional open surgery, but only 2 knees (3%) underwent arthroplasty. Eight knees (13%) underwent revision ACI. Most patients reached their preinjury activity level (62%) and would undergo ACI again if in the same situation (85%). If failure is defined as revision of the graft or conversion to arthroplasty, then survivorship after ACI for OCD in the current study would be 87% at 10 years, 85% at 15 years, and 82% at 20 years. Conclusion: ACI for OCD provides a durable treatment option. At a median follow-up of 19 years, there was a very low (~3%) conversion to total knee arthroplasty. © 2020 The Author(s).

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