Effectiveness of Lavage Techniques in Removing Immunogenic Elements from Osteochondral Allografts

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ObjectiveThis study aimed to compare standard saline lavage to combination saline and high-pressure carbon dioxide (CO2) lavage in removing marrow elements from osteochondral allografts.DesignSix fresh hemicondyles were obtained. Three osteochondral allograft plugs (15-mm diameter, 6-mm depth) were harvested from each hemicondyle and randomized to 1 of 3 treatment arms: A, no lavage; B, 1 L standard saline lavage; C, simultaneous saline (1 L) and 1-minute high-pressure CO2 lavage. After hematoxylin and eosin staining, a “percentage fill” of remaining marrow elements was calculated for each overall sample and then repeated in 3 distinct compartments for each sample based on depth from surface: 1, deepest third; 2, middle third; and 3, most superficial third. Trial arms B and C were compared with 1-tailed Student t tests.ResultsGroup A had an overall percentage fill of 51.2% ± 8.8%. While both lavage techniques decreased overall remaining marrow elements, group B yielded significantly higher percentages of remaining marrow elements than group C (28.6% ± 16.5%, 14.6% ± 8.7%, P = 0.045). On depth analysis, group A exhibited homogenous filling of trabecular space (63.0% ± 15.5%, 67.6% ± 13.7%, and 55.2% ± 10.1% in zones 1, 2, and 3, respectively). Both lavage arms equally removed marrow elements from superficial zone 3 (B, 17.4% ± 9.2%; C, 15.6% ± 12.4%, P = 0.41) and middle zone 2 (B, 30.2% ± 17.7%; C, 21.4% ± 15.5%, P = 0.18). However, group C lavage removed significantly more marrow elements in deep zone 1 than group B (29.7% ± 10.9%, 58.5% ± 25.2%, P = 0.01).ConclusionCombination saline and high-pressure CO2 lavage more effectively clears marrow elements from osteochondral allografts than saline alone.

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