Bipolar fresh total osteochondral allograft in the ankle: Is it a successful long-term solution?

S. Giannini, A. Mazzotti, Francesca Vannini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


INTRODUCTION: Severe post-traumatic ankle arthritis poses a reconstructive challenge in young and active patients. Although technically demanding and despite unsolved immunological issues, bipolar fresh total osteochondral allograft (BFTOA) represent an intriguing option to arthrodesis and prosthetic replacement. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the outcomes of a series of 48 ankle BFTOA at 10 years follow up and to investigate the rate of survival long term. METHODS: 58 patients underwent BFTOA, of these 48 were available for follow up. The allograft was prepared with the help of specifically designed jigs and the surgery was performed using either a lateral or a direct anterior approach. Patients were evaluated clinically and radiographically preoperatively, and at a mean 121±18months of follow-up. RESULTS: The AOFAS score improved from 31±11 pre operatively, to 65±25 at the last (p<0.0005). Fourteen failures occurred, with 70.8% allograft rate of survival. All the surviving allografts showed a reduction of the ankle joint movement, still associated with a satisfactory clinical result. CONCLUSION: The use of BFTOA represents an intriguing option to arthrodesis or arthroplasty. A satisfactory clinical result associated to a good movement of the transplanted joint is to be expected up to short-mid-term, overtime. Long term, the range of motion (ROM) is progressively decreased up to spontaneous arthrodesis in some cases, still the joint results pain free and patient's perception is of a well functioning ankle. A deeper knowledge of the immunological behavior of transplanted cartilage is needed in order to improve the durability of this fascinating technique.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1319-1324
Number of pages6
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - May 11 2017



  • Ankle arthritis
  • Ankle transplant
  • Osteochondral allograft

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