Cartilage repair in the knee with subchondral drilling augmented with a platelet-rich plasma-immersed polymer-based implant
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The aim of our study was to analyse the clinical and histological outcome after the treatment of focal cartilage defects in non-degenerative and degenerative knees with bone marrow stimulation and subsequent covering with a cell-free resorbable polyglycolic acid–hyaluronan (PGA-HA) implant immersed with autologous platelet-rich plasma (PRP).
Fifty-two patients (mean age 44 years) with focal chondral defects in radiologically confirmed non-degenerative or degenerative knees were subjected to subchondral drilling arthroscopically. Subsequently, defects were covered with the PGA-HA implant immersed with autologous PRP. At 2-year follow-up, the patients’ situation was assessed using the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) and compared to the pre-operative situation and 3–12-month follow-up. Biopsies (n = 4) were harvested at 18–24 months after implantation and were analysed by histology and collagen type II immune staining.
At 1- and 2-year follow-up, the KOOS showed clinically meaningful and significant (p < 0.05) improvement in all subcategories compared to baseline and to 3-month follow-up. There were no differences in KOOS data obtained after 2 years compared to 1 year after the treatment. Histological analysis of the biopsy tissue showed hyaline-like to hyaline cartilage repair tissue that was rich in cells with a chondrocyte morphology, proteoglycans and type II collagen.
Covering of focal cartilage defects with the PGA-HA implant and PRP after bone marrow stimulation improves the patients’ situation and has the potential to regenerate hyaline-like cartilage.
Level of evidence
Case series, Level IV.
KeywordsCartilage repair Knee Arthroscopy Regenerative medicine PGA-HA scaffold Platelet-rich plasma Microfracture Bone marrow stimulation Polymer-based implant Polyglycolic acid
CK is employee of TransTissue Technologies GmbH and consultant of BioTissue AG
Conflict of interest
All other authors declare that there is no financial or other conflict of interest.
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