, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 519-527

Matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation versus microfracture in the treatment of cartilage defects of the knee: a 2-year randomised study

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Abstract

Cartilage defects occur in approximately 12% of the population and can result in significant function impairment and reduction in quality of life. Evidence for the variety of surgical treatments available is inconclusive. This study aimed to compare the clinical outcomes of patients with symptomatic cartilage defects treated with matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation (MACI™ or microfracture (MF). Included patients were ≥18 and ≤50 years of age with symptomatic, post-traumatic, single, isolated chondral defects (4–10 cm2) and were randomised to receive MACI™ or MF. Patients were followed up 8–12, 22–26 and 50–54 weeks post-operatively for efficacy and safety evaluation. Outcome measures were the Tegner, Lysholm and ICRS scores. Sixty patients were included in a randomised study (40 MACI™, 20 MF). The difference between baseline and 24 months post-operatively for both treatment groups was significant for the Lysholm, Tegner, patient ICRS and surgeon ICRS scores (all P < 0.0001). However, MACI™ was significantly more effective over time (24 months versus baseline) than MF according to the Lysholm (P = 0.005), Tegner (P = 0.04), ICRS patient (P = 0.03) and ICRS surgeon (P = 0.02) scores. There were no safety issues related to MACI™ or MF during the study. MACI™ is superior to MF in the treatment of articular defects over 2 years. MACI™ and MF are complementary procedures, depending on the size of the defect and symptom recurrence. The MACI™ technique represents a significant advance over both first and second generation chondrocyte-based cartilage repair techniques for surgeons, patients, health care institutions and payers in terms of reproducibility, safety, intraoperative time, surgical simplicity and reduced invasiveness.