Cartilage Restoration Techniques for the Patellofemoral Joint

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Symptomatic osteochondral lesions of the patellofemoral joint are clinically challenging to manage because of the limited healing potential of articular cartilage; the complex morphology of the patellofemoral joint; the heterogeneity of the articular surface between patients; and high stresses across the joint, which can be altered by malalignment, tilt, or maltracking. Indications for surgery include traumatic lesions, osteochondritis dissecans, and high-grade chondromalacia in association with persistent pain despite a course of nonsurgical management. Various techniques have been described for managing symptomatic osteochondral lesions of the patellofemoral joint, including microfracture, osteochondral autograft transplantation, and biologic cell transplantation, including autologous chondrocyte implantation. Salvage techniques (eg, fresh allograft) may provide satisfactory outcomes after a failed attempt at surgical management. Irrespective of the surgical technique used, outcomes are generally worse in the patellofemoral compartment than in the tibiofemoral joint. The concomitant management of associated pathology, including patellar malalignment, is recommended because it has been shown to improve the success of cartilage restoration procedures.

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