Fresh Osteochondral Allograft for the Treatment of Cartilage Defects of the Talus: A Retrospective Review

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Background:Osteochondral lesions of the talar dome can cause substantial functional impairment and present a difficult treatment dilemma. Interest has recently focused on fresh osteochondral allografts as a promising treatment alternative. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical outcome of osteochondral lesions of the talus treated with a fresh osteochondral allograft.Methods:We performed a transfer of fresh osteochondral allograft in forty-two patients with a symptomatic, refractory osteochondral lesion of the talus. Complete postoperative follow-up was achieved for thirty-eight patients with an average age of 44.2 years. Clinical evaluation was performed with use of the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society ankle-hindfoot score and a visual analog pain scale. All scores were obtained from either a retrospective chart review or a direct patient interview. All patients were also asked about their subjective satisfaction with the procedure. Magnetic resonance images were acquired for fifteen patients, to assess graft incorporation, subsidence, articular cartilage congruity, osteoarthritis, and stability with use of the De Smet criteria.Results:The average duration of follow-up after osteochondral allograft transplantation was 37.7 months. Graft failure occurred in four patients. With the inclusion of scores before revision for those with graft failure, the mean visual analog pain scale score improved from 8.2 to 3.3 points, and the mean American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society ankle-hindfoot score improved from 52 to 79 points. Patient satisfaction with the outcome was rated as excellent, very good, or good by twenty-eight of the thirty-eight patients and as fair or poor by ten patients. Of the fifteen magnetic resonance imaging scans, most showed minimal graft subsidence, reasonable graft stability, and persistent articular congruence.Conclusions:In our experience, transplantation of fresh osteochondral allograft is a viable and effective method for the treatment of osteochondral lesions of the talus as evidenced by improvements in pain and function.Level of Evidence:Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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