Autologous Osteochondral Transplantation for Treating Patellar Chondral Injuries: Evaluation, Treatment, and Outcomes of a Two-Year Follow-up Study

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Abstract

Background:

The patella is the largest human sesamoid bone and often sustains chondral injury. There is no consensus on how to treat a full-thickness, symptomatic articular cartilage injury of the patella. We analyzed the clinical and functional outcomes of patients with symptomatic full-thickness patellar chondral lesions treated with autologous osteochondral transplantation and evaluated osteochondral autograft bone-plug integration through magnetic resonance imaging.

Methods:

In this prospective study, thirty-three patients with a symptomatic full-thickness patellar chondral injury surgically treated with autologous osteochondral transplantation were evaluated before and after surgical treatment with a minimum two-year follow-up using the Lysholm, Kujala, and Fulkerson questionnaires and the Short Form-36 health survey score. Magnetic resonance images were made at six and twelve months postoperatively and studies were performed to analyze the osteochondral autograft bone-plug integration.

Results:

All thirty-three patients showed a significant improvement in functional scores two years after surgery. The average Lysholm scores were 57.27 points preoperatively and 80.76 points at two years postoperatively, the average Kujala scores were 54.76 points preoperatively and 75.18 points at two years postoperatively, and the Fulkerson average scores were 54.24 points preoperatively and 80.42 points at two years postoperatively. The Short Form-36 life quality score improved significantly. Two years after surgery, all magnetic resonance images showed full bone-plug integration into the patella.

Conclusions:

Autologous osteochondral transplantation is a successful technique to surgically treat symptomatic full-thickness patellar articular cartilage injuries smaller than 2.5 cm in diameter. Patients had a significant improvement in clinical scores. Bone-plug integration and surface alignment were demonstrated in all patients two years after surgery.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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