Background: Despite its highly specialized nature, articular cartilage has a poor reparative capability. Treatment of symptomatic osteochondral defects of the talus has been especially difficult until now.
Methods: We performed autologous chondrocyte transplantation in twelve patients with a focal deep cartilage lesion of the talus. There were seven female and five male patients with a mean age of 29.7 years. The mean size of the lesion was 2.3 cm2. All patients were studied prospectively. Evaluation was performed with use of the Hannover ankle rating score, the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) ankle-hindfoot score, a visual analogue scale for pain, and magnetic resonance imaging.
Results: All patients were available for follow-up at a mean of sixty-three months. There was a significant improvement in the Hannover score, from 40.4 points preoperatively to 85.5 points at the follow-up examination, with seven excellent results, four good results, and one satisfactory result. The AOFAS mean score was 88.4 points compared with 43.5 points preoperatively. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a nearly congruent joint surface in seven patients, discrete irregularities in four, and an incongruent surface in one. The patients who had been involved in competitive sports were able to return to their full activity level.
Conclusions: The promising clinical results of this study suggest that autologous chondrocyte transplantation is an effective and safe way to treat symptomatic osteochondral defects of the talus in appropriately selected patients.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
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The authors did not receive grants or outside funding in support of their research for or preparation of this manuscript. They did not receive payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.
Investigation performed at the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Radiology, Georg-August University Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
- Copyright © 2006 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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