Background: Articular cartilage pathology can result from a spectrum of origins, including trauma, osteochondritis dissecans, avascular necrosis, or degenerative joint disease.
Purpose: To compare the differences in clinical and patient-reported outcomes after autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) versus osteochondral allograft transplantation (OCA) in patients with focal articular cartilage defects without underlying bone loss.
Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.
Methods: A retrospective review identified patients who underwent ACI or OCA between 2008 and 2016 for isolated grades 3 and 4 articular cartilage defects without underlying bone loss. Outcome measures included the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score for Joint Replacement (KOOS JR), International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) evaluation, and 12-Item Short Form Health Survey-Physical Component (SF-12-P) scores. Defect location, size, complications, and rate of subsequent surgery were determined.
Results: Overall, 148 patients were included: 82 (55%) underwent ACI and 66 (45%) underwent OCA. The mean age at the time of surgery was 31.2 years within the ACI cohort and 37.7 years within the OCA cohort (P < .001); the mean follow-up for both cohorts was 6.7 years (P = .902). Within the ACI group, 28 (34%) patients had multifocal defects, 21 (26%) had defects confined to the femoral condyles, and 33 (40%) had defects in the patellofemoral region. Within the OCA group, 23 (35%) patients had multifocal defects, 30 (46%) had confined femoral condyle lesions, and 13 (20%) had patellofemoral defects. When comparing by lesion location, there were no significant differences in KOOS JR, and IKDC scores between the ACI and OCA cohorts (P < .05). There was, however, a significant difference for SF-12-P scores for FDD trochlear lesions. In both cohorts, traumatic patellofemoral pathology demonstrated lower patient-reported outcomes and higher failure rates than degenerative lesions. The overall rate of failure, defined as graft failure with revision surgery and/or conversion to arthroplasty, was significantly greater in the OCA group (21% vs 4%; P = .002).
Conclusion: Study results indicated that ACI provides similar outcomes to OCA with or without concomitant procedures for the treatment of symptomatic articular cartilage defects in all lesion locations and may have a lower revision rate for multifocal and condylar lesions.
Matthews, John R; Brutico, Joseph; Abraham, Daniel; Heard, Jeremy; Tucker, Bradford; Tjoumakaris, Fotios; and Freedman, Kevin, "Differences in Clinical and Functional Outcomes Between Osteochondral Allograft Transplantation and Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation for the Treatment of Focal Articular Cartilage Defects" (2022). Rothman Institute Faculty Papers. Paper 163.
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