Failures in bipolar fresh osteochondral allograft for the treatment of end-stage knee osteoarthritis

S. Giannini, R. Buda, A. Ruffilli, G. Pagliazzi, A. Ensini, B. Grigolo, G. Desando, F. Vannini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Bipolar fresh osteochondral allografts (BFOA) recently became a fascinating option for articular cartilage replacement, in particular in those young patients non-suitable for traditional replacement because of age. While the use of osteochondral allografts for the treatment of focal osteochondral lesions in the knee is well established, their use in the treatment of end-stage arthritis is far more controversial. The purpose of this paper is to describe our experience in a series of seven patients who underwent a resurfacing of both tibio-femoral and patello-femoral joints by BFOA. Methods: From 2005 to 2007, seven patients (mean age 35.2 ± 6.3 years) underwent BFOA for end-stage arthritis of the knee. Patients were evaluated clinically, radiographically and by CT scan preoperatively and at established intervals up to the final follow-up. Results: No intra-operative complications occurred. Nevertheless, joint laxity and aseptic effusion, along with a progressive chondrolysis, lead to early BFOA failure in six patients, which were revised by total knee arthroplasty at 19.5 ± 3.9 months follow-up. Only one patient, who received the allograft to convert a knee arthrodesis, gained a satisfactory result at the last follow-up control. Conclusions: BFOA in the knee joint still remains an inapplicable option in the treatment of post-traumatic end-stage arthritis of the young patient, due to the high rate of failure. Further studies are necessary in order to investigate the causes of failure and improve the applicability of this method. Still, after extensive counselling with the patient, BFOA may represent a salvage procedure aimed to revise scarcely tolerated knee arthrodesis. Level of evidence: Retrospective case series, Level IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2081-2089
Number of pages9
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 4 2014


  • Knee
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteochondral allograft
  • Replacement
  • Young patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)


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