Chondral lesions in the patellofemoral compartment represent a difficult entity to treat among active patients, with no clear consensus on the optimal treatment strategy. The purpose of this study was to review the functional outcomes of patients >40 years old with primary patellofemoral osteochondral lesions who underwent a cartilage restoration procedure with a structural graft.Methods
Following institutional review board approval, 35 patients >40 years treated for patellofemoral chondral or osteochondral injuries were retrospectively identified. Seventeen (47%) had prior surgery (mean 1.4 procedures, range 1-4). Average follow-up was 3.6 ± 1.6 years. Average patient age was 51.5 years (range 40-72 years); 54% were male. Twenty-six (74%) had isolated trochlear lesions, 7 had isolated patellar lesions (20%), while 2 (6%) had bipolar lesions. Twenty patients (57%) were treated with synthetic biphasic scaffold plugs (SS), 9 (26%) with fresh osteochondral allograft (OCA) and 6 (17%) with osteochondral autograft transfer (OAT). Outcomes were measured with validated measures: Activity of Daily Living Score (ADL), International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) Subjective Evaluation form, and Marx Activity Scale (MAS).Results
The average lesion size for the entire cohort was 3.1 ± 1.7 cm2. Average defect size was 2.6 ± 1.7 cm2 for the SS group, 4.3±1.5 cm2 for the OCA group, and 2.9 ± 0.8 cm2 for the OAT group (P > 0.051). Outcome scores for the entire population demonstrated significant improvement in ADL (P = 0.002) and IKDC scores (P = 0.004) between baseline and final follow-up, while MAS scores were maintained (P = 0.51).Conclusion
Structural grafts are a viable treatment option for symptomatic focal osteochondral lesions of the patellofemoral joint in patients 40 years and older, with anticipated improvements in pain and function and maintenance of preoperative activity levels.