Surgical treatment of early knee osteoarthritis with a cell-free osteochondral scaffold: Results at 24 months of follow-up

Alessandro Di Martino, Elizaveta Kon, Francesco Perdisa, Andrea Sessa, Giuseppe Filardo, Maria Pia Neri, Laura Bragonzoni, Maurilio Marcacci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose "Early Osteoarthritis (EOA)" has been defined combining clinical, imaging and surgical parameters, with the aim to identify patients in early degenerative phases, who might benefit from the use of available regenerative procedures. Aim of this first clinical trial is to prospectively evaluate the results obtained in a group of patients meeting the inclusion criteria of "EOA" as proposed by the ESSKA Cartilage Committee, and surgically treated with the implantation of a multi-phasic osteochondral scaffold. Methods 23 patients were prospectively evaluated at 12 and 24 months of follow-up. Etiology of the chondral or osteochondral defect was rated as microtraumatic or degenerative in 18 cases, and traumatic in 5 cases. Patients included were complaining of clinical symptoms like knee pain and affected by chondral and osteochondral lesions located at the femoral condyles or trochlea and MRI findings demonstrating articular cartilage degeneration and/or meniscal degeneration and/or subchondral bone marrow lesions. Results All patients increased significantly in any clinical score adopted. The IKDC subjective score increased from 42.8 ± 13.8 at basal evaluation to 74.3 ± 17.4 at 12 months' (p <0.0005), being stable (74.9 ± 20.4) up to the final follow-up of 24 months. Tegner score showed a statistically significant improvement in sports activity from 3.3 ± 2.7 pre-operative to 4.6 ± 2.2 at 12 months (p <0.005), with a slight improvement to the final evaluation (4.7 ± 2.1; n.s.). However, the activity level was significantly lower than the pre-injury one (6.1 ± 2.6; p = 0.004). A significant difference was shown between patients younger versus older than 40 years, with younger patients had better clinical improvement (76.0 ± 18.6 vs 45.1 ± 38.8 respectively, p = 0.037). Conclusions The implantation of a multi-phasic osteochondral scaffold represents a good option after failure of conservative management for Early OA patients, where younger age represent an important factor for a better outcome. Longer follow-up is needed to evaluate the benefit over time. Level of evidence IV, case series.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S33-S38
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015


  • acellular scaffold
  • degenerative
  • early osteoarthritis
  • Osteochondral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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