Midterm Results of the Treatment of Cartilage Defects in the Knee Using Alginate Beads Containing Human Mature Allogenic Chondrocytes

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Abstract

Background:

The treatment of chondral lesions is still an important challenge for the orthopaedic surgeon. Attempts have been made to restore cartilage lesions by filling the defects with a temporary biocompatible matrix.

Purpose:

The authors present their midterm experience with the implantation of alginate beads containing human mature allogenic chondrocytes for the treatment of cartilage lesions in the knee.

Study Design:

Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods:

A biodegradable, alginate-based biocompatible scaffold containing human mature allogenic chondrocytes was used for the treatment of cartilage lesions in the knee. Twenty-one patients were clinically prospectively evaluated with use of the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) and a visual analog scale (VAS). The mean follow-up time was 6.3 years (range, 5-8 years). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data were analyzed based on the MOCART (Magnetic Resonance Observation of Cartilage Repair Tissue) system, allowing morphologic assessment of the repair tissue. Magnetic resonance images were taken at 1 year of follow-up and at a mean follow-up of 6.1 years (range, 5-7 years).

Results:

During the follow-up period, the WOMAC and VAS scores improved significantly. No signs of clinical deterioration or adverse reactions to the alginate beads/allogenic chondrocyte implantation were observed. Four failures occurred during the follow-up period in this study (19.05%). The MOCART scores were moderate and remained stable in time.

Conclusion:

This investigation provided useful information on the efficacy of the implantation of alginate beads containing human mature allogenic chondrocytes for the treatment of cartilage lesions in the knee. The midterm clinical outcome of the presented technique was satisfactory. However, these results were not confirmed by the MRI findings.

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