PURPOSE: To evaluate at long-term follow-up patients undergoing a one-step procedure of debridement and BMAC seeded in situ onto a scaffold for the treatment of osteochondral lesions of the talus (OLT) in ankles affected by osteoarthritis (OA), documenting the duration of the clinical benefit and its efficacy in postponing end-stage procedures.
METHODS: This series included 56 consecutive patients. Patients were evaluated preoperatively and up to a mean of 10 years of follow-up with the AOFAS score and the AOS scale, including pain and disability subscales. Furthermore, patients were asked to rate the satisfaction and failures were documented as well.
RESULTS: The AOFAS score improved from 52.3 ± 14.3 to 73.5 ± 23.1 at 10 years (p < 0.0005); the AOS pain and disability subscales decreased from 70.9 ± 14.1 to 37.2 ± 32.7 and from 69.0 ± 14.8 to 34.2 ± 29.3, respectively (both p < 0.0005). The overall rate of satisfaction was 61.8 ± 41.2 and 68.6% of patients would undergo again the surgical procedure. A total of 17 failures was documented, for a failure rate of 33.3%. Older patients and those with more complex cases requiring previous or combined surgeries had lower outcomes, as well as those affected by grade 3 OA, who experienced a high failure rate of 71.4%.
CONCLUSIONS: This one-step technique for the treatment of OLT in OA ankles showed to be safe and to provide a satisfactory outcome, even if patients with end stage OA presented a high revision rate at 10 years. Moreover, this procedure was effective over time, with overall good results maintained up to a long-term follow-up. However, older age, more complex cases requiring previous or combined surgeries, and advanced OA led to an overall worst outcome and a significantly higher failure rate.