No evidence for combining cartilage treatment and knee osteotomy in osteoarthritic joints: a systematic literature review

G. Filardo, S. Zaffagnini, R. de Filippis, Francesco Perdisa, L. Andriolo, C. Candrian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To assess whether the combination of HTO and cartilage treatment produced an additional clinical benefit compared to HTO alone. The secondary aim was to identify if there was any difference among different cartilage procedures in terms of healing potential and clinical outcome. Methods: A systematic review of the literature was performed on PubMed database by three independent observers according to the following inclusion criteria: clinical reports of any level of evidence, written in the English language, with no time limitation, about HTO associated with cartilage surgical and injective treatment, including surveys reporting clinical, radiological, or second-look outcomes at any follow-up time. Results: The database search identified 1956 records: 21 studies were included for the final analysis, for a total of 1068 patients; 10 case series and 11 comparative studies. While overall good results were reported in the case series, the analysis of the comparative studies showed less uniform results. Among the eight studies investigating HTO with cartilage surgical procedures, improved tissue regeneration was found in 5/8 studies, whereas a clinical improvement was reported only in two studies. Three studies on HTO combination with injective treatment showed better tissue regeneration and clinical benefit. Conclusions: Literature presents low-quality studies, with only few heterogeneous comparative papers. While surgical treatments targeting only the cartilage layer did not achieve clinical improvements, injective treatments targeting the overall joint environment showed promising findings. This prompts further research towards the development of treatments able to improve knee osteotomies outcomes. However, until new evidence will prove otherwise, there is no indication for a combined cartilage treatment in routine clinical practice. Level of evidence: Level IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3290-3299
Number of pages10
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Cartilage treatment
  • Injection
  • Knee
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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