The purpose of this study was to investigate the clinical results at five years' follow-up of a tri-layered nanostructured biomimetic osteochondral scaffold used for focal articular cartilage defects in patients meeting the criteria of early osteoarthritis (EOA). The study population comprised 22 patients (mean age: 39 years), prospectively assessed before surgery, at 24 and 60 months' follow-up. Inclusion criteria were: at least two episodes of knee pain for more than 10 days in the last year, Kellgren-Lawrence OA grade 0, I or II and arthroscopic or MRI findings according to the European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery & Arthroscopy (ESSKA) criteria. Clinical results demonstrated significant improvement in International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) subjective and objective scores and in Tegner score, although activity level never reached the pre-injury level. The complication rate of this study was 8.3%. Two patients underwent re-operation (8.3%), while a comprehensive definition of failure (including both surgical and clinical criteria) identified four failed patients (16.6%) at this mid-term follow-up evaluation. The use of a free-cell osteochondral scaffold represented a safe and valid alternative for the treatment of focal articular cartilage defects in the setting of an EOA, and was able to permit a significant clinical improvement and stable outcome with low complication and failure rates.
- early osteoarthritis
- surgical treatment