Clinical results and MRI evolution of a nano-composite multilayered biomaterial for osteochondral regeneration at 5 years

Elizaveta Kon, Giuseppe Filardo, Alessandro Di Martino, Maurizio Busacca, Antonio Moio, Francesco Perdisa, Maurilio Marcacci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Several cartilage lesions involve the subchondral bone, and there is a need for biphasic scaffolds to treat the entire osteochondral unit to reproduce the different biological and functional requirements and guide the growth of the 2 tissues. Purpose: To evaluate the results of a cell-free collagen-hydroxyapatite osteochondral scaffold at midterm, and to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) analysis to document the imaging evolution of the tissue regeneration process through 5 years of follow-up. Study Design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4. Methods: Twenty-seven patients (9 women, 18 men; mean age, 34.9±10.2 years) treated for knee chondral or osteochondral lesions (size, 1.5-6 cm2) were followed for 2 and 5 years and were clinically evaluated using the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) and Tegner scores. An MRI evaluation was performed at both follow-ups in 23 lesions, and the magnetic resonance observation of cartilage repair tissue (MOCART) score and specific subchondral bone parameters (bone regeneration, bone signal quality, osteophytes or upcoming bone front, sclerotic areas, and edema) were analyzed. Results: A statistically significant improvement in all clinical scores was observed from the initial evaluation to the 2- and 5-year follow-ups, and the results were stable over time. The mean IKDC subjective score improved from 40.0±15.0 to 76.5±14.5 (2- year follow-up) and 77.1±18.0 (5-year follow-up) and the mean Tegner score from 1.6±1.1 to 4.0±1.8 (2-year follow-up) and 4.1±1.9 (5-year follow-up). The MRI evaluation showed a significant improvement in both the MOCART score and subchondral bone status from 2 to 5 years. At 5 years, complete filling of the cartilage was shown in 78.3% of the lesions, complete integration of the graft was detected in 69.6% of cases, the repair tissue surface was intact in 60.9%, and the structure of the repair tissue was homogeneous in 60.9% of the cases. No correlation was found between MRI findings and clinical outcome. Conclusion: This osteochondral scaffold was used for the treatment of chondral and osteochondral knee defects with a singlestep procedure. The study results highlighted the safety and potential of this procedure, which offered a good clinical outcome with stable results at midterm follow-up. Although the MRI findings improved over time, some abnormalities persisted, but no correlation was found between the imaging and clinical results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-165
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • articular cartilage
  • articular cartilage resurfacing
  • knee
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • osteochondral scaffold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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