BACKGROUND: The treatment of symptomatic cartilage defects of the patella is particularly challenging, and no gold standard is currently available. PURPOSE: To evaluate the clinical results of a biphasic cell-free collagen-hydroxyapatite scaffold and to evaluate osteochondral tissue regeneration with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). STUDY DESIGN: Case series; Level of evidence, 4. METHODS: Thirty-four patients (18 men and 16 women; mean ± SD: age, 30.0 ± 10 years) were treated by scaffold implantation for knee chondral or osteochondral lesions of the patella (area, 2.1 ± 1 cm2). The clinical evaluation was performed prospectively at 12 and 24 months via the IKDC (International Knee Documentation Committee; objective and subjective) and Tegner scores. MRI evaluation was performed at both follow-ups in 18 lesions through the MOCART score (magnetic resonance observation of cartilage repair tissue) and specific subchondral bone parameters. RESULTS: A statistically significant improvement in all the scores was observed at 12- and 24-month follow-up as compared with the basal evaluation. The IKDC subjective score improved from 39.5 ± 14.5 to 61.9 ± 14.5 at 12 months ( P > .0005) with a further increase to 67.6 ± 17.4 at 24 months of follow-up (12-24 months, P = .020). The MRI evaluation showed a stable value of the MOCART score between 12 and 24 months, with a complete filling of the cartilage in 87.0% of the lesions, complete integration of the graft in 95.7%, and intact repair tissue surface in 69.6% at final follow-up. The presence of osteophytes or more extensive bony overgrowth was documented in 47.8% of the patients of this series, but no correlation was found between MRI findings and clinical outcome. CONCLUSION: The implantation of a cell-free collagen-hydroxyapatite osteochondral scaffold provided a clinical improvement at short-term follow-up for the treatment of patellar cartilage defects. Women had lower outcomes, and the need for realignment procedures led to a slower recovery. MRI evaluation showed some abnormal findings with the presence of bone overgrowth, but no correlation has been found with the clinical outcome.
- cartilage regeneration
- osteochondral scaffold