The treatment of osteochondral lesions of the talus has evolved with the development of improved imaging and arthroscopic techniques. However, the outcome of treatment for large cystic type-V lesions is poor, using conventional grafting, debridement or microfracture techniques.
This retrospective study examined the outcomes of 50 patients with a cystic talar defect who were treated with arthroscopically harvested, cored osteochondral graft taken from the ipsilateral knee.
Of the 50 patients, 45 (90%) had a mean good to excellent score of 80.3 (52 to 90) in the Karlsson-Peterson Ankle Score, at a mean follow-up of 36 months (24 to 83). A malleolar osteotomy for exposure was needed in 26 patients and there were no malleolar mal- or nonunions. One patient had symptoms at the donor site three months after surgery; these resolved after arthroscopic release of scar tissue.
This technique is demanding with or without a malleolar osteotomy, but if properly performed has a high likelihood of success.