Osteochondral autograft transplantation versus autologous bone-cartilage paste grafting for the treatment of knee osteochondritis dissecans

Alessandro Di Martino, Simone Silva, Luca Andriolo, Giulia Merli, Davide Reale, Stefano Zaffagnini, Giuseppe Filardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: To compare the results of two groups of patients affected by osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the knee and treated with either osteochondral autologous transplantation (OAT) or bone-cartilage paste grafting (PG).

METHODS: A total of 27 patients affected by OCD lesions of the femoral condyles were included: 15 treated with OAT, 12 with PG, with comparable baseline characteristics (mean age 22.4 ± 7.2 vs. 24.2 ± 8.5 p = n.s., mean defect size 2.2 ± 1 cm2 vs 2.6 ± 1 cm2 p = n.s.). Patients were evaluated pre-operatively and at 24 and 84 months post-operatively with the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) subjective and objective scores. Sport activity level was evaluated with the Tegner activity score. Adverse events and failures were also recorded.

RESULTS: The IKDC subjective score improved significantly in both groups. At 24 months, a significant improvement from 53.4 ± 9.1 to 80.8 ± 12.9 (p = 0.005) was obtained in the OAT group and from 44.6 ± 11.0 to 71.4 ± 25.3 in the PG group (p = 0.008). A further statistically significant increase was observed at 84 months in both groups. No significant differences were found between OAT and PG at both follow-ups. One OAT patient required post-operative knee mobilization under narcosis and two complained of donor site symptoms. More failures were documented in the PG vs OAT group (25% vs 0%; p = 0.043).

CONCLUSION: Both PG and OAT provided overall satisfactory results up to 84 months follow-up. However, while PG presents the advantages of a less invasive approach with lower adverse events, the higher failure rate of PG should be considered when choosing between these two surgical treatment options for restoration of the articular surface in patients affected by knee OCD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-461
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Orthopaedics
Issue number2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Sep 21 2020


  • Cartilage
  • Knee
  • OCD
  • Osteochondral autologous transplantation
  • Osteochondritis dissecans
  • Paste grafting


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