Clinical profiling in cartilage regeneration: Prognostic factors for midterm results of matrix-assisted autologous chondrocyte transplantation

Giuseppe Filardo, Elizaveta Kon, Luca Andriolo, Berardo Di Matteo, Federica Balboni, Maurilio Marcacci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Matrix-assisted autologous chondrocyte transplantation (MACT) was developed to overcome the limitations of first-generation autologous chondrocyte implantation. Although short-term/midterm results are now available for a small series of patients, the literature still lacks studies on large cohorts of patients evaluated at midterm/long-term follow-up. Purpose: Not all patients can have the same benefit from this procedure. The aim of this study is to analyze a large cohort of patients treated with hyaluronan-based MACT to perform clinical profiling and to highlight the patient- and lesion-specific aspects that play a key role in determining the prognosis. Study Design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4. Methods: A total of 142 patients were treated for lesions involving the femoral condyles and trochleae; 133 knees were followed up yearly for 7 years. The average size of the defects was 2.3 ± 1.0 cm2. The origin was traumatic in 44 cases and degenerative in 57 cases, and 32 knees were affected by osteochondritis dissecans (OCD). The clinical outcome was analyzed using the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC), EuroQol visual analog scale, and Tegner scores. The influence of the following factors was analyzed: sex, age, body mass index, site, lesion origin, lesion size, previous or combined surgery, and symptom duration. Results: A marked improvement in all scores was found: the IKDC subjective score increased from the basal level of 39.6 ± 14.4 to 71.9 ± 19.8 (P <.0005) at 12 months; a further improvement was observed at 24 months (77.0 ± 20.5; P <.0005). The results were stable over time up to the 7-year evaluation (77.4 ± 22.1). The failure rate was 10.7%. Better results were seen in the trochleae, and among femoral condyles, the following factors were found to influence the clinical outcome positively: traumatic and OCD origin, male sex, short symptom duration (for traumatic lesions), small lesion size (for OCD), young age, and no previous surgery. Conclusion: Treatment with MACT provides good and stable clinical results. Injury origin, sex, symptom duration, lesion size, lesion site, age, and previous surgery might determine the final outcome and can be used as a sort of clinical profiling to guide the surgeon in the choice of this procedure and in giving realistic expectations to patients requiring cartilage treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)898-905
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • arthroscopic MACT
  • cartilage
  • knee
  • patient profiling
  • prognostic factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Medicine(all)


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