Lesion Size Does Not Predict Outcomes in Fresh Osteochondral Allograft Transplantation

Luis E P Tírico, Julie C McCauley, Pamela A Pulido, William D Bugbee
American Journal of Sports Medicine 2018, 46 (4): 900-907

BACKGROUND: Cartilage repair algorithms use lesion size to choose surgical techniques when selecting a cartilage repair procedure. The association of fresh osteochondral allograft (OCA) size with graft survivorship and subjective patient outcomes is still unknown.

PURPOSE: To determine if lesion size (absolute or relative) affects outcomes after OCA transplantation.

STUDY DESIGN: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

METHODS: The study included 156 knees in 143 patients who underwent OCA transplantation from 1998 to 2014 for isolated femoral condyle lesions. The mean age was 29.6 ± 11.4 years, and 62.9% were male. The majority of patients (62.2%) presented for cartilage repair because of osteochondritis dissecans. The mean graft area, used as a surrogate for absolute size of the lesion, was 6.4 cm2 (range, 2.3-11.5 cm2 ). The relative size of the lesion was calculated as the tibial width ratio (TWR; ratio of graft area to tibial width) and affected femoral condyle ratio (AFCR; ratio of graft area to affected femoral condyle width) using preoperative radiographs. All patients had a minimum follow-up of 2 years. Further surgical procedures were documented, and graft failure was defined as revision OCA transplantation or conversion to arthroplasty. International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) pain, function, and total scores were obtained. Satisfaction with OCA transplantation was assessed.

RESULTS: The mean follow-up among patients with grafts remaining in situ was 6.0 years (range, 1.9-16.5 years). The OCA failure rate was 5.8%. Overall survivorship of the graft was 97.2% at 5 years and 93.5% at 10 years. No difference in postoperative outcomes between groups was found in absolute or relative size. Change in IKDC scores (from preoperative to latest follow-up) was greater for knees with large lesions compared to knees with small lesions, among all measurement methods. Overall satisfaction with the results of OCA transplantation was 89.8%.

CONCLUSION: The size of the lesion, either absolute or relative, does not influence outcomes after OCA transplantation for isolated femoral condyle lesions of the knee.


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