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Osteochondral Autograft and Mosaicplasty in the Football (Soccer) Athlete

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      To evaluate the clinical outcomes of mosaicplasty in the treatment of focal chondral and osteochondral defects of joints among elite football players.


      Case series; Level of evidence, 4. The results of mosaicplasty were prospectively evaluated with 1-year intervals with patient-reported outcome measures, radiographs, and sports participation.


      Sixty-one patients who received mosaicplasty in the knee joint were followed from 2 to 17 years (average, 9.6 years). The International Cartilage Repair Society (ICRS) score showed 89% good and excellent results. Sixty-seven percent of all players returned to the same level of sport, with 89% of the elite players and 62% of the competitive players. The average time to return to competitions was 4.5 months (range, 3.5-6.1 months). Players who had better clinical outcomes were significantly younger and had smaller lesions. The results of the medial and lateral condyles were significantly better than those in the patella or trochlea. Concomitant adjuvant procedures improved clinical outcomes. Despite a higher rate of preoperative osteoarthritic changes, clinical outcomes demonstrated a success rate similar to that of less athletic patients.


      Autologous osteochondral mosaicplasty in competitive football players is a good alternative procedure to repair cartilage damage.

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      Most cited references 28

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      The etiology of chondromalacia patellae.

       E Outerbridge (1961)
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        Articular cartilage defects: study of 25,124 knee arthroscopies.

        This retrospective study aimed to provide data on the prevalence, epidemiology and etiology of the knee articular cartilage lesions and describe and estimate, on the ground of a large database, the number of patients who might benefit from cartilage repair surgery. The analysis of 25,124 knee arthroscopies performed from 1989 to 2004 was conducted. Information concerning cartilage lesion, associated articular lesions and performed procedure were collected. Cartilage lesions were classified in accordance with the Outerbridge classification. Chondral lesions were found in 60% of the patients. Documented cartilage lesions were classified as localized focal osteochondral or chondral lesion in 67%, osteoarthritis in 29%, osteochondritis dissecans in 2% and other types in 1%. Non-isolated cartilage lesions accounted for 70% and isolated lesions accounted for 30%. The patellar articular surface (36%) and the medial femoral condyle (34%) were the most frequent localization of the cartilage lesions. Grade II according to Outerbridge classification was the most frequent grade of the cartilage lesion (42%). The most common associated articular lesions were the medial meniscus tear (37%) and the injury of the anterior crucial ligament (36%). Articular cartilage lesions are a common pathology of the knee joint. The potential candidates for cartilage repair surgery, patients with one to three localized grade III and IV cartilage lesions, under the age of 40 were found in 7% and under the age of 50 years in 9% of all analysed patients. However, because these patients are a heterogeneous group and the natural history of cartilage lesions remains so far unknown, also the total number of patients in our study, who might benefit from cartilage repair, remains unknown precisely.
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          Autologous chondrocyte implantation and osteochondral cylinder transplantation in cartilage repair of the knee joint. A prospective, comparative trial.

          Current methods used to restore the joint surface in patients with localized articular cartilage defects include transplantation of an autologous osteochondral cylinder and implantation of autologous chondrocytes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical and histological outcomes of these two techniques. We performed a prospective clinical study to investigate the two-year outcomes in forty patients with an articular cartilage lesion of the femoral condyle who had been randomly treated with either transplantation of an autologous osteochondral cylinder or implantation of autologous chondrocytes. Biopsy specimens from representative patients of both groups were evaluated with histological staining, immunohistochemistry, and scanning electron microscopy. According to the postoperative Lysholm score, the recovery after autologous chondrocyte implantation was slower than that after osteochondral transplantation at six months (p < or = 0.015), twelve months (p < or = 0.001), and twenty-four months (p < or = 0.012). On the basis of the Meyers score and the Tegner activity score, the results were equally good with the two methods two years after treatment. Histomorphological evaluation of biopsy specimens within two years after autologous chondrocyte implantation demonstrated a complete, mechanically stable resurfacing of the defect in all patients. The tissue consisted mainly of fibrocartilage, while localized areas of hyaline-like regenerative cartilage could be detected close to the subchondral bone. Although a gap remained at the site of the transplantation in all five biopsy specimens examined as long as two years after osteochondral cylinder transplantation, histomorphological analysis and scanning electron microscopy revealed no differences between the osteochondral transplants and the surrounding original cartilage. Both treatments resulted in a decrease in symptoms. However, the improvement provided by the autologous chondrocyte implantation lagged behind that provided by the osteochondral cylinder transplantation. Histologically, the defects treated with autologous chondrocyte implantation were primarily filled with fibrocartilage, whereas the osteochondral cylinder transplants retained their hyaline character, although there was a persistent interface between the transplant and the surrounding original cartilage. Limitations of our study included the small number of patients, the relatively short (two-year) follow-up, and the absence of a control group.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Department of Orthopedics, Uzsoki Hospital, FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence, Budapest, Hungary
            Author notes
            Gergely Pánics, Uzsoki Hospital, Department of Orthopedics, Uzsoki u. 29-41. 1143, Budapest, Hungary Email: gergelypanics@
            SAGE Publications (Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA )
            January 2012
            January 2012
            : 3
            : 1 Suppl , Special Issue Articular Cartilage Injury in the Football (Soccer) Player
            : 25S-30S
            (Editor), (Editor), (Editor), (Editor), (Editor),
            © The Author(s) 2012


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